Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We Love Them For Their Sacrifice

We American sports fans can sit back comfortably and watch our favorite teams compete thanks to the men and women of our military services.  It is their sacrifice that allows us a civilian life of comfort and protection. Imagine, just for today, what our daily routines would require of us had we not the protection of our armed services.

What If you were required to stand guard over the borders of your city or state. To walk patrols at daybreak praying that a sniper bullet might leave you enough mental and bodily function to return to your family with some semblance of the person you left as. 

You'd be recruited, trained and assigned to guard against and engage any enemy threat, foreign or domestic, to your community. Your responsibility comes with the knowledge that the safety of friends, family and fellow citizens depend on your being able to carry out your duty successfully.

When not on patrol you'd do your best to adjust to normal civilian living, marrying and having kids, always aware of the destructive threat awaiting your family should fellow soldiers falter in your absence. Its a threat that keeps you sleepless at night and paranoid throughout the daytime. You almost wanna cut short the supposed Rest & Relaxation time with your family and return to the front lines early just to know that all is safe and sound for today. 

If not for the responsibility and affections of your loved ones, death would probably be a welcome respite from the stress of having to kill and/or be killed. Its not about courage, honor or loyalty; its about survival. There are evil forces outside your perimeter that want the territory and resources where you live, regardless of how small. You are a part of the home forces that stand between them and the annihilation of community life as you know it. 

And so you serve your community with a pledge to sacrifice your life, if necessary, in defense of it.  

And someday, when you've fulfilled your military obligations and received an honorable discharge from active service,  you'll find yourself holding your sobbing wife as your 18-year old son walks out the front door of your home to begin his military training. Part of you is proud to watch your little boy walking toward a life that's sure to strengthen his manhood. But another part is full of fear, doubt and anger knowing the dangers he'll face and the loss of innocence that comes with such a duty. Did you prepare him well? Does he know how much you love him? It seems only yesterday. My boy.

As you console your wife, tears have welled up in your own eyes; tears not only for the concern for the safety of your child, but also from the realization that your being forced too soon, to let go of that child so that he can grow, live and prayerfully survive the horrors that life might have in store for him. 

Flashback thirty years and you're seeing your young self in the departing shoulders and being of your son, leaving behind the sobbing sounds of mom and dad as you walk away from home to commence military training.You remember that day like no other and it is then that you join your wife in uncontrollable sobbing. 

For the hardest of men can sometimes become like crying babies when faced with the realization of just how much he loves his child and family. As with discovering the grace of God, it can take a lifetime or only seconds; it is God who decides the time.

For those who serve and their loved ones. You are not alone.

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