I know of at least three men in my family who have served America in times of war. My father-in-law was in Vietnam. My grandfather and my great uncle served in WWII. All three came back alive.
My great uncle Lando was a medic in WWII and was in the thick of it. He came home with lots of medals but I don't think anyone in my family knew what he'd been through, or what he'd done. Finally, not long ago, he shared some stories. Most of his decorations came from the time when most of Lando's squad was captured by the Germans. Lando the medic got a gun, went back for his guys, and got them. That's about all I know, but the story was thankfully recorded by my family before Lando died recently. I look forward to reading it and hearing more about it.
Jesus is recorded as teaching, "You have heard it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."
To all of our enemies in foreign lands and here on US soil,
To those who would shoot us as soon as look at us, simply because we're American,
To those who have grown up seeing and knowing little else than violence and poverty,
To those who are in so much pain, and been let down by their own governments,
To those who know no other way to express this anguish, than by hating us and trying to kill us.
This is my prayer for you.
May your anguish be replaced by hope, although some pain will always remain.
May your hatred be replaced by peace, and eventually, maybe even love, although that takes time.
May your children, who have seen their lands and people decimated, find a way to change the momentum of their generation.
May you forgive us for those we have already killed and those who will die over the coming months and years.
When the bullets and bombs stop one day, as I pray they will, may you find a way to regroup, rebuild, and succeed on your own terms.
May your next generations not hold this war against us.
May you live in peace, with each other and the world.
May you come to understand that you are God's children, just like us, and that what makes us the same is so much grander than what makes us different.
May your pain heal, but your memory stay strong. Never forget the face, and the price, of war.
God bless you, and if the winds change, and one day it's your turn to wage war on us...
may we still love you, and continue to pray for you.
Our church showed a video this morning, with scrolling quotes from some of the great leaders from America's past.
Samantha saw a background picture with a large, stone hand holding a torch, and got very excited:
"Daddy, look! It's the Statue of Delivery!"
I almost corrected her, but then realized that her misnomer isn't really so incorrect after all. My own ancestors probably saw the statue and felt delivered, along with millions of others.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!