A Soldier’s Story of Sacrifice

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US and British D-Day veterans attending a ceremony at Normandy, 2019

View on YouTube.

I wanted to do something special for Fathers’ Day and share with you a story that was sent to me by a subscriber. Today, as in many critical times in the past, America is at a crossroads. And to some extent, we get to choose what kind of nation we want to be. Whether we’ll have what we want depends, in part, on our ability to influence the generations that follow with examples like these.

(To view a multi-media presentation, click on the link above.)

“I have been very emotional today about the contrast between our parents generation’s love and sacrifice for freedom for more than just themselves, and those who are following us—the anti-American youth of today.

I am a bit exhausted from a lot tears as I thought of how much our fathers and other young men sacrificed to save the freedoms of millions, and the contrast of so many today.

My Dad fought in the Philippines and unless I got this wrong he was also in New Guinea. He was only 19. He enlisted in Dallas, Texas, where his two older brothers had joined up and were already serving in Europe. I still remember my Grandma telling me about the nightmares and visions that she had of her sons lying dead in front of her church altar. She and Grandpa had their PTSD, too.

My Dad had malaria as a result of his service. I still remember him shaking when he would have attacks decades later. When I entered nursing school and found out how easily it could have been prevented as well as treated, my heart broke to understand how little our government cared about him. I never told him.

He told me how angry he was when the promise of a good job after serving was a lie. He shamed someone in the government to get him a job. He worked in WT Grant in Jamaica, Queens NYC; I visited him there when Mom and I would go shopping. It was not what he was promised. The GI Bill for college was never a promise kept to him. But he and the rest of the Greatest Generation kept their promise, thank God. May the Lord bless them in His Kingdom with the highest honors because as Jesus said, there is no greater love than that a man should lay down his life for another.

Even the ones who survived the war had a kind of death inside after suffering the horrors of war. A few days before my Dad died, he spoke about the war for the first time ever. I think he knew his time was coming to see the Lord. It was like a purging of all that the war had done to his soul. I was the only one with him that week. I felt deeply honored to be the only one who would know that part of him.

I was also the last one to be with him an hour before he died unexpectedly. The last words he spoke were just like the young man who was not afraid to think of others when he went to war. He had been shouting in his sleep and I went to him. He said, “Oh honey, I’m sorry, did I wake you up?” We said I love you to each other and I kissed him for the last time, my hero, my Dad.

He cried like a baby when he described the guilt that he felt when he had to kill a young Japanese soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Part of the story would have been funny had no one been killed. He had been placed on guard duty at some supply depot until the unit had to withdraw from the advancing enemy. Dad had at one point purchased some black market Japanese pearls for his Mom.

They retreated so quickly that he was unable to retrieve the pearls from where he had buried them. He and another young GI went together to retrieve their purchases that night. They did not realize that the enemy had already arrived. They retrieved their goods but to their horror, they found themselves behind enemy lines and running for their lives. Eventually they had to fight for their lives in hand-to-hand combat. His young buddy was killed in a horrible way right next to him.

My Dad killed the enemy soldier. The Japanese soldier’s helmet fell off and out of it dropped a photo of his wife and child. Dad cried like a baby as he said how horrible it was that he had taken someone’s husband and daddy away from them. He was 82 and so vulnerable even all those decades past. I held him and softly told him that he had no choice if he wanted to live. He softly murmured,” I know, honey, I know.”

I wished that I could have made it seem right to him–him fighting to the death of another. I was here. It didn’t seem fair to me either. The conflict of living at the cost of another dying was the living death that men like my Dad carried forever. How can anyone reconcile that? Our vets live it every day, homeless in the streets with the wounds of war.

My Grandma had all three of her sons return. Their wounds were of the soul and each one suffered differently. I now have that triple strand of pearls that Grandma wore every Sunday. But I only found out the story that day when Dad spoke of the war for the first time. When we consider the cost, the burdens, the wounds, thank you is not enough. We are without a profound enough word of gratitude.

So in light of that, thank you Dad, thank you every one who has served. Indeed they were the Greatest Generation. I salute them all.”

RC

Why this Matters: In her letter, RC included the story of Moses and that the battle was won as long as Moses held his arms up to God. And when he got tired, others came to his aid to hold them up for him.

And so it is with our prayers, The Lord will win this battle for us. We must not give up, and we must not get involved in side skirmishes between ourselves. We have to stay strong in the power of His might.

Let me take you to 2 Chronicles 15 and the story of King Asa. It was a time when there was no priest, no one teaching the truth, and they had forgotten God. They were vexed with adversity at every side and without peace. Finally, they turned to the Lord to look for Him and find Him.

God sent his prophet Azariah to deliver this message to Asa, Judah, and Benjamin. He said:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

That gave them courage to put away their abominable idols out of the land of Judah and Benjamin and out of the cities and to renew the altar of God. They gathered themselves together and offered sacrifices and entered into a covenant with the Lord God to seek him with all of their heart and soul. Asa even took away the title of queen from his mother because she had made an idol in a grove. He cut it down and stamped it and burned it.

After that, there was no more war unto the 35th year of the reign of Asa.

We need that kind of dedication to God today. Who knows how far He will take us if our hands be not weak–or the reward our work will bring?

How to Pray: For our President, that God will uphold his efforts to clean out the swamp and return America to a foundation where truth, justice, and judgment prevail.

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