Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day -- Let's remember

Last night I got a phone call from the local Vietnam Veterans organization, letting me know our daughter was awarded a Vietnam Veterans college scholarship. I called her cell phone, and she immediately called her grandfather, my Dad, who served as an Army chaplain in the Vietnam War.

That brought back a strong memory I had. I was in the 6th grade, living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, while Dad was in Vietnam. Hattiesburg had suffered the effects of Hurricane Camille a few months before, and people certainly had a lot of things on their minds, but my Dad was always on my mind. He was stationed in Cu Chi, located between Saigon and the Cambodian border. The Vietcong were coming down the western side of Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia on the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" and then entering South Vietnam for their guerilla attacks. President Nixon decided to order American troops to invade Cambodia and put it to a stop. I remember watching with my Mom as the president explained all of this with a map on TV. As Nixon motioned where the invasion was, his hand went right over Cu Chi where my father was stationed. Mom explained that Dad was going in with the troops. As a chaplain, he would not be firing a gun, but he would be in the line of fire.
The next day, I took a map of Southeast Asia with me to school. Surely the other students had seen this on the news, and they knew my Dad was over there and would want to know about him. After all, we were not living on a military base, but in a civilian community, and I was the only kid in my class with a father in Vietnam. Surely they would gather around me, look at the map where my Dad was, and ask me questions about him.
However, I could not have been more wrong about my fellow students. I took the map, and tried to show it to students, but nobody was interested and nobody cared. I came home despondent. It was a very lonely year at that school.
But at least my Dad survived the war without injury and came home safe and sound. He even brought back trinkets captured from the Vietcong.

This Memorial Day, I think of those who served our country and never came home. Their sacrifice is much like the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. No greater love is there than this-- to lay down one's life to give freedom to another. Thanks to our soldiers, we have freedom of worship in our country. Thanks to Jesus, we have freedom from sin.
Don't forget.
Here's a video that will help you remember.

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