WAR. It is easy to distance ourselves, to forget. Out of sight, out of mind.
But when war becomes personal—when a close loved one is serving his/her country, then the perspective changes. War weaves into lives with threads of fear and uncertainty, with distraction and unease, with life lived always on the cusp of “when the soldier returns home.”
I’ve never lived that life in the present. But I have experienced it in the past, in the afterward of war. My father fought on the front line during the Korean War. Battle forever changed him. How could it not? If you killed someone close enough to see the whites of their eyes, how would you feel? Even if you understood the choice, kill or be killed?
My dad lived with the demons of war—the nightmares, the flashbacks of buddies blown apart on the battlefield, the memories of hunger and cold and the digging into foxholes and a sniper picking off members of his platoon and mortar rounds winging toward him.
There is no glory in war or in violent death on the battlefield.
On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember, not war, but the men and women who served their country. Remember them as individuals—as sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles…
Honor them. Respect them. Thank them for giving of themselves to preserve and protect our freedom.
And if they are no longer living, like my dad, honor them by visiting their grave sites or a veterans’ memorial or by attending a Memorial Day service or parade. That is the very least we can do to express our gratitude.
TO READ A STORY I wrote about my Dad’s service in Korea, click here. The story was published by Harvest House Publishers in 2005 in the book, God Answers Prayers: Military Edition, edited by Allison Bottke.
HOW WILL YOU HONOR veterans this Memorial Day?
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling