“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain;” Abraham Lincoln 1854, excerpts from The Gettysburg Address.
When my son was in college, a young woman from their school newspaper attempted to interview a local veteran from WWII. He didn’t want to tell his story and sent her away. He met a Vietnam vet later that week at the VFW hall and that vet had lost a leg. They shared stories and the next day, that WWII vet called the reporter and asked her to come over, he told her his story which included being a POW in a Japanese prison camp for 5 years. I read that story with tears in my eyes, especially the footnote that that man died three days later.
My dad served in WWII, he was in General Patton’s Third Armored Division, he won a bronze star for bringing men to the front lines at night and in a truck with no lights on and never lost a man. That’s about all he ever wanted to say and as a boy I wanted to know and after finally pestering him he told me a little bit about his time in the army and showed me some old photographs too. The one thing he did say and it is the one thing I do remember to this day is this,” we had to go and fight against Hitler. We didn’t want to go but we had to. When it was over, we came home and got back to work and raised our families.”
Daily Battle Order:
When we listen to these stories and hear them perhaps from our own relatives who may have served in the military or as support personnel, we become a witness.
Today, seek out that family member or perhaps a neighbor that you know who served in the military and ask them to tell you their story of service. Look them in the eye as they tell you. If you don’t know anyone, ask at your local nursing home if there is a veteran there. Introduce yourself and ask them to tell you their story before it’s too late. They may have been waiting to tell their story for a long time. Then, you will be their witness.