In the mid-1990s, when my son, Joshua, announced he enlisted in the Army, I was a bit nervous, but I was proud of his decision to serve his country.
In the late 90’s, when Kuwait was becoming more and more unstable, Joshua called to say that his unit was awaiting word on whether or not they would be sent to that region. I earnestly prayed for my son’s protection, holding my breath for his return. Thankfully, a few years later, Joshua came home, safe and sound, never having to go to Kuwait.
However, I am solemnly aware that through the years, the families of over a million of soldiers waited for their husband, wife, son, daughter, sister or brother to come home – but instead of receiving a big hug from their soldier, they mournfully received his or her flag-draped casket.
I appreciate the solemnity of Memorial Day. I can’t imagine the courage it took for our soldiers to endure countless hours of raw terror, not knowing what the next moment would bring.
And their families, convinced that there was no worse feeling than not knowing if their loved ones were alright, realized how wrong they were when they heard that dreaded knock on the door. Suddenly, these newest members of the Gold Star family (families of fallen service members), would have gratefully trade the “not knowing” for the awful certainty they then faced.
Where would the United States of America be had our brave men and women not fought so valiantly – some even to the point of death? God speaks highly of those who lay down their lives for others. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13 1984 NIV).
Have we, as a nation, appreciated our soldiers’ sacrifices – and the sacrifice of their families? Probably not nearly enough.
If you have lost a loved one who died while serving our country, I don’t discount your heartbreaking loss. I pray we, as a nation, will be found worthy of the huge price you and your fallen soldier paid.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of a new blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can email Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.