Archive for the 'Memorial Day' Category



Memorial Day 2009: Remember the Families

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 4 months ago

Our friend Mike at Cop the Truth is the most faithful follower of losses of airborne troopers of any person on the Internet.  The Captain’s Journal has tried to be the same for Marines.  Not openly, mind you, but silently and discretely.  Beginning in 2005 and going through the present, whenever a Marine was killed in the Anbar Province in Iraq (and now beginning in Afghanistan), I have tried to make it a point to read the account, his family’s reaction, and the official press release – and then pray for his family.

The years in Anbar were very hard, and with fully one quarter of the more than 4000 deaths coming from Marine fatalities in the Anbar Province alone (for losses of more than 1000 Marines due to combat action), the last several years have been hard.  The year 2006 and the followup year of 2007 (when my son was deployed) were especially dark.

One commendable thing about posting to blogs and opinion sites is that while I attempt to keep the writing tilted towards good analysis and commentary (even if containing advocacy), occasionally I give myself the freedom to engage in dissemination of deeply personal views.  And it’s okay to do that.

If you are one of those sad souls who believes that when a person dies his body cools to ambient temperature and then that’s the end, then I don’t have much for you.  You may take Memorial Day and ponder the sacrifice of those who died too young for this great nation of ours.  This all seems rather empty to me.  But if you are like me, a believer in orthodox Christianity, I encourage you to say a prayer of thanks to God for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who keep us safe, past, present and future.  Another way of saying it is that while those warriors have bravely died on the field of battle, they aren’t now dead.

Those who have gone before us are in God’s hands.  While certainly unorthodox, I recommend that the focus of your prayers and giving this Memorial Day be the families of American warriors who have given their all, along with those warriors who have disabilities from their combat.  Pray that the Lord would assuage the pain of their losses, whether limbs lost, brain function lost, or sons or daughters lost on the field of battle.  I am not suggesting that you convert this Memorial Day into Veteran’s Day.  I am suggesting that you remember those who still suffer on behalf of our deceased warriors.  Our deceased warriors no longer suffer.

This Memorial Day, do more than ponder silently, which is therapeutic for no one except you.  Intercede on behalf of grieving families for God to bless them today and throughout the year.  Have a great Memorial Day 2009.

Memorial Day

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 4 months ago

Arlington National Cemetery, Government issued headstones of Section 34 looking south.

Here is a sentiment with which The Captain’s Journal completely agrees.

They were simple instructions. If you know people serving in the military, pay thanks. When you hear the national anthem, stand and remove your hat. Take to your feet when the flag passes by. Never ask veterans whether they’ve killed someone, or seen dead people, or lost friends in combat. If you haven’t served, don’t pretend to know the military experience, Marine Corps Cpl. Shawn MacDonald told Bow middle-schoolers at their Memorial Day assembly yesterday.

“A lot of people would like to relate to the individuals who’ve served in the military, and they tell them, ‘We understand; we know what you’ve been through,’ ” said MacDonald, 22. “I think that if you could refrain from telling people you understand, you would pay us a great service.”

And come Memorial Day, honor more than those who died in combat, said MacDonald, who returned to his Bow home only this week after serving in Iraq and being stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Think about those who have lost loved ones in combat, and about those who currently have relatives serving overseas. And, he said, think about those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with injuries or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“They continue to live on with the memories and the pain,” said MacDonald, 22. “For those people, we really need to pay our respects.”

Right before deploying to Iraq in 2007, my son said “good training, good weapons, good people, we should be fine.”  I recall it vividly, since it was juxtaposed with another statement he made to me earlier without really looking my direction: “I want to be buried at Arlington.”

No response was needed on my part.  I just nodded after he looked over at me.  It was his way of telling me that if he perished, he belonged with his fellow warriors.  Many hours of prayer and lost sleep ensued over the next seven months.  My son saw much combat but returned home.  But there are men who don’t, and whether warriors are deployed, home or at Arlington (or a like cemetery), the wars take a heavy toll on the loved ones of our warriors – spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters.

Never forget.


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