Thursday, July 4, 2013


Listening to Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" gives me the shivers. The song's lyrics and the way it is sung makes me think on all that is good in America, the sacrifices of many patriots, service personnel, and citizens.  The 'city on a hill' as it has been depicted in the far past and by the late President Ronald Reagan.  Some believe in the United States of America.  They believe she stands for something greater than herself, for justice and liberty, for freedom and inalienable rights, for goodness and rightness, the treating of her citizens and others with dignity and respect.

As I write this blog, there are men in my family who are serving in the military.  My oldest son is in the Navy. My son-in-law is in the Air Force.  My two nephews, from different families, are in the Army.  I look at these young men: strong in character, resilient in action, moderate in behavior and I feel that they are some of the best, for they are quiet leaders by their own right.  Each one has said that their comrades look up to them.  I can't help but think that some of it is due to their upbringing, the values of hard work, honesty, helpfulness, and Christian beliefs.  I pray for each one.  I know that each one has the potential of being in harm's way in the near future when their deployments put them in the middle of the action.  A lot has changed in the past year. It is hard to not worry and it is easy to get concerned about the many aspects to this time in history, the military objectives, and the possibilities that could impact their choices and futures.

One must trust in God to protect our loved ones, and we ask Him to do so. God honors our prayers.  He also has a plan and purpose for all that happens.  I think back to my grandfather and a couple of WWI stories that he told us one night as we sat in his living room, the only time I heard him speak of the difficulties of war when he was a young man.  Then, there was my uncle, who served in WWII, flying missions in war of which I never heard him speak. His family has a string of tags that chronicle each mission that he flew.  Then my dad had his short turn.  He served in the Naval Reserve when we were just babies. None of my family served in the Vietnam War, but I have a story about the Vietnam War.

During my junior high and high school years the Vietnam War was the continuing story on the news every night. There was much opposition to the war. I remember the peace rallies, the peace signs, the war protests, the hippy movement that sort of coincided with all of this.  The anti-government sentiment was strong in the public institutions of education. I remember watching a public debate between a conservative and a liberal on my high school campus, the conservative didn't even have a chance. The cheers and boos started before the debate even got going. My family was more on the conservative pendulum so I didn't really agree with all the anti-war protesting going on. Although, I do see some of it differently now.  There are times when you stand up. "Stand up for what is right even if you have to stand alone," is a saying that one applies to many of these things.

The Vietnam War became personal one day in the form of a classmate's reaction. This high school peer was a year younger than me. He also had a brother a year older than me. This guy's family were cowboys, a bit loud, and a bit in the middle of high school activities. (I wasn't.) In class one day, some students were ragging on the endless Vietnam War and putting it down in every form, blaming the government and all the things that they thought were stupid about the war.  This young man spoke up after this had gone on for several minutes, with his emotions barely in-check he informed the class that his oldest brother had died while fighting in Vietnam, that he and the others who had served in the war deserved a little respect. He had my attention.

We could see his respect for his brother. And we could feel his loss. The teacher was silent. The class hushed. The conversation silenced. On that day he gained my respect. I never forgot the incident. This student spoke up for the honor of his brother, an honor due him, he who had given his all. The class of students had not considered or regarded this in their point of view. Have you ever noticed that usually only one side gets to speak in times like this? Many years later this same young man delivered a truckload of product to the farm where I lived. He was driving a semi-truck.  I recognized him when we spoke briefly. I never mentioned my memory of him in high school.  He offered my oldest son who was around five at the time, a ride in the truck around the outbuildings on the farm. But my son was a bit too shy. It made me feel happy that he had done so. My son recently mentioned this memory, and said he wished he had done it!

So, today, thank the Americans who believe in liberty and freedom. Thank those who are serving our country.  Thank those who have served in the past.  Pray for all of those serving. Pray for our Commander In Chief, that he will lead in a way that serves America best and in the best interest of our military women and men.


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