As we approach Memorial Day this upcoming weekend, The Porch today pauses to honor the men and women that have served in our military service. And, we honor their families that have also sacrificed so much. I admit to being a softy about our military members and their families. I have probably never watched one of those videos about surprise returns from service without getting a tear in my eye. To all these individuals and their families, we honor you today.
There are many individuals in my family that have served in the US military over the past century or more. I know for sure of distant relatives that served in the US Civil War. My grandfather served in Europe during World War I. My father was in the Pacific during World War II. I have brothers-in-law that served during the Viet Nam War. My brother served in the Navy. I have a nephew that served several years in Europe and another, a veteran of many deployments to the Middle East, and his daughter currently serving. I have many friends that have served. So, I know first-hand of the sacrifices that are required, and freely given, by those that serve.
However, I also want to recognize the families of those that have actively served our country. They are often the forgotten heroes. Can you imagine being a mother of one or more children serving during World War I or II – a time when immediate communication was not possible like it is today – hoping and praying for months that your son or daughter was safe without knowing for sure? Can you imagine going to the door of your home to be met by representatives of the military there to inform you that a son, daughter, or other loved one was killed? Can you imagine the mental and emotional scars that so many family members still have today as a result of their sacrifices?
Many in our society today remain scarred by military service… some with physical scars, others with scars not so visible. Long periods of absence harm families, marriages, and, sometimes, the mere ability to cope with life. Yet, because these scars are not visible, they are easy to forget or ignore.
To all those that have made these sacrifices and that bear the scars to prove it, we give our most sincere and heartfelt thanks. You are a hero!
John Gordon was a respected general for the South in the Civil War. After the war, he was running for the U.S. Senate, but a man who had served under him in the war, angry over some political incident, was determined to see him defeated. During the convention, he angrily stamped down the aisle with his anti-Gordon vote in hand. As he saw Gordon sitting on the platform, he noticed how his once handsome face was disfigured with the scars of battle. Overcome with emotion, he exclaimed, “It’s no use; I can’t do it. Here’s my vote for John Gordon.” Then, turning to the general, he said, “Forgive me, General. I had forgotten the scars.”*
To those of you that bear the scars of service to our country – whether you served directly or as a family member – you are honored. We experience the freedom we have this Memorial Day week because of you. Thank you!
And, to those of you that feel your scars could never allow you to be free or because you have lost hope, please take a look at this previous post from The Porch called, What is your hope? Here, you can read about someone else that bears scars for us and who can give us a different kind of freedom.