Today we are ‘celebrating’ Memorial Day. I happened to go to two different worship services this weekend that both had a mantra “We shall never forget.” They had nice videos and then the vets were asked to stand to be honored.
I came away with a sad and sinking feeling that our country has forgotten and taken for granted the sacrifices of so many so that we may live free. Out of sight, out of mind so to speak. This caused me to think besides ‘lip service,’ how should we honor the dead?
The first thing we should do is to honor the widows and the fatherless children. There is one organization in particular that does, in my opinion, the best job and it is Ollie North’s Freedom Alliance. Their scholarship fund provides college scholarships to the sons and daughters of American heroes – the dependents of U.S. military personnel who have been killed or permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. They do this for two reasons: first, to help deserving students with the rising cost of college education; and second, to remind those students that their parents’ sacrifices will never be forgotten by a grateful nation. I wholeheartedly say this is principally how we should honor their sacrifice.
But how else should we honor their sacrifices? I hold out to you that another vital way to honor those who gave their lives is to honor those they were willing to lay down their lives for–their battle buddies…their fellow soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen.
Far too many of these warriors –more than people realize — have ‘sacrificed their lives’ as well. They have sacrificed their emotional health because as the Veteran’s Administration revealed today, as many as 95% have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! Many of them have sacrificed their family lives because the divorce rate is 80% or higher after three wartime deployments. Even more telling is the fact that every day, 57 veterans seek to take their own lives, and unfortunately on average 19 daily are ‘successful.’
What a grateful nation should to do is give these service members and their families the life-changing help they so desperately need and certainly deserve. This is why Jan and I have committed ourselves to service with Military Ministry. Many organizations are seeking to render service to our warriors and their families, but Military Ministry has Christ-centered solutions to the combat trauma and relationship challenges that the Lord has allowed in our heroes’ lives. Please consider supporting us as you are able, so we can support those whose lives are still ahead of them.