I have never served in the armed forces. I was never required to leave my family, my wife, and my children behind, fly off to some far off land and run the risk of bleeding out in the desert under a hot sun. I have never had to see good friends die in my arms, or tell someone who just had half their face blown off that it’s not so bad. I’ve never had to put pressure on a wound and tell a brother in arms to hang in there, even though I knew the wound was fatal. I have never been forced to take another human life to defend my own. I have never been in the heat of battle with bullets buzzing by my head, I’ve never had to question if we were doing the right thing, nor have I ever had to write a letter to the family of a fallen soldier informing them that their loved one was coming home in a box. I have never had to live with the nightmares of the hell I had to endure on the battlefield, I have never had to contend with being spat upon by the selfsame people for whose freedom I put on the uniform and waged war. I will not be so vapid as to try and put myself in a soldier’s shoes, or in the shoes of a family who has lost a loved in one in combat. I do not know what it’s like to be a soldier, but I respect those with the wherewithal and fortitude to do the hardest job known to man. It’s easy to conflate the wars which politicians choose to entangle a nation in, and the soldier himself. If for some reason we deem a war unjust, then we tend to transfer the questionable morality to the soldier himself. The distinction must be made, and we must separate the nobility of the war from the nobility of the soldier. The soldier follows orders as a good soldier must. He defends the nation and the homeland at the risk of his own life because he took an oath to do so. This is memorial day weekend. It is a weekend set aside not to debate the fundamental morality of the wars this nation has engaged in, or whether it was the right thing to do at the time, but to remember those who have fallen in defense of this nation. It is an opportunity to reflect, and once more acknowledge that this freedom we are so readily willing to cast aside came at a price, and throughout this nation’s short history noble and decent men laid down their lives to preserve it. It has been said that if you can’t intelligently argue for both sides of an issue, then you don’t understand the issue well enough to argue for either. To an extent, I agree. I believe I can hold my own arguing both sides of entangling ourselves in foreign conflicts, both for or against, but this weekend is not about that.
This weekend is about those who gave their last full measure of devotion, those who sacrificed everything because their nation called on them to do so. Such men must be remembered. Such men must be admired, and the memory of them must live on.
With love in Christ,
Posted on 26 May 2019 | 12:25 pm