On this Memorial Day, let us remember the sacrifices of our Armed Forces personnel, the brave men and women who serve to defend and protect our great nation. Let us remember the fallen, the wounded, the deployed, and the families they leave behind.
The Covenant of Mizpah… “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another.
Genesis 31:49 – NKJV
Daddy was leaving again. But this time, things seemed different. He had left many times before, vanishing into the jungles of South America for weeks or off to some distant post for training. All temporary tours of duty, he would soon return with a big grin and a tight hug.
But this time felt different. The silence in the car was deafening on that cold November morning. Mama stared out the window trying in vain to hide the tears that leaked from the corners of her eyes.
Decked out in his Army greens, medals proudly displayed over his heart, Daddy cut a dashing figure. Peering up at him seated behind the steering wheel, I noticed how quiet he was. That was strange. Daddy was never quiet.
My grandparents were quiet too, staring out the window at a dark gray sky. I had never seen my Grandmama cry. She was so tough, so reserved, and yet, her clear blue eyes were also wet with tears.
With all the impetuousness of a seven year old, I tugged on Daddy’s sleeve and blurted out, “Why is everybody crying? You’re gonna come home, right, Daddy? You always come home.”
Daddy smiled down at me, but I spied the tears he tried to blink away. “Yeah, doll. I’ll come home.”
On that cold wintry morning, I didn’t understand how long a year would be or how far away Vietnam was. I couldn’t comprehend the dangers he faced or the fear that gripped the hearts of the adults gathered around me. I just remember waving goodbye as he boarded the plane and wishing with all my heart that he didn’t have to go.
The months crept by, filled with many sleepless nights for my mother. We savored every letter, pouring over Daddy’s words as if by touching the pages, we could somehow reach him. There was the phone call from Hawaii during his week of R&R. Mama traveled there to meet him and for the life of me, I just couldn’t understand why I didn’t get to go. It seemed quite unfair.
At least, I got to talk to Daddy on the phone. Grandmama told me to ask Daddy about the hot pink bicycle with the white banana seat that I coveted at the Western Auto store. Sure enough, Daddy said I could have it.
I remember the day we decorated the house in red, white and blue ribbons. I made a poster for the front door. I can still see Daddy’s mile wide grin when he saw my fancy artwork declaring, “Welcome Home, Daddy!” His arms squeezed me tight as he twirled me through the air in celebration. My Daddy had come home just like he promised.
But there were many Daddy’s who didn’t get to come home. There were many little girls and boys left fatherless in that war and in the ones that came before and after. Every day, military fathers and mothers are deployed overseas to dangerous places with dangerous missions. Every day, little girls and boys say goodbye and wonder how long it will be until Mommy or Daddy comes back home.
In our busy lives, it is easy to forget the daily sacrifices of our military families. It is easy to overlook the hardships they face during deployment and even during the readjustment that follows a homecoming.
What of the soldiers who come home broken and battered, their lives forever changed? What of the families whose mother or father did not return? Where do they find the strength to go on?
Today, let us remember. Today, let us give thanks for their service and honor the memory of the fallen. Today, let us pray for the wounded, the weary, the worried. May they find God’s peace that passes all understanding. May The Lord God go with them wherever they go.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 – NLT
O Lord God, we lift up our brothers and sisters serving in the military and their families who wait anxiously at home. We lift up those who have lost loved ones in battle. We pray for those wounded in mind and body and for Your healing Presence in their lives. Restore them to health and grant them Your peace. Go with them all, Lord. Comfort them and keep them and bring them safely home.