May 27, 2013 I had already decided earlier last week that I would show a 3-4 min. video clip from Youtube by Toby Keith re: remembering our soldiers’ sacrifices for Memorial Day in our morning service yesterday. When I found out right before the service that my beloved uncle Newton had just died – a month before he turned 91 and a day before Memorial Day, I knew I had to dedicate that song and collage of pictures to him. Uncle Newton, my dad, and my other uncle Bill all served in the military. Uncle Newton lived a decent walk or a quick bike ride from the home I grew up in all my growing up years in Knoxville. He taught me how to shoot basketball with my left hand by humiliating me on the basketball court whenever I started beating him in horse (he would just shoot only with his left hand and make me do the same). Uncle Newton was my Sunday school teacher when I was in early high school years. He loved God, loved our nation, and loved his family and clan. He will be sorely missed.
I’m afraid my generation – and certainly the next one – come to Memorial Day with convoluted emotions if not an absence of emotion altogether. Many of us (excluding some who joined the military) have not fought in any war. If we have obtained our education in public schools we most likely have not given adequate attention to the history of our nation, which would include some history of the condition of Great Britain at the time when our forefathers and mothers chose to leave it for what would eventually become the U.S.A. (One cannot really understand the underlying foundational principles that formed the bedrock of our nation’s identity unless you understand the deteriorating conditions and ideologies that caused our forefathers to leave Great Britain in the first place).
War of course is an extremely unpopular subject where I live. The prevalence of peace signs and “Coexist” bumper stickers on our cars, and the growing popularity of Buddhism among our citizens here on the Central Coast of CA speak to that. Some of that I understand when it truly comes out of compassion for mankind and not wanting to see any more of the devastation that comes from wars. But I’m afraid much of it is rooted in selfishness, and in fact a great void of true compassion. For instance it is rare to ever see a sign or bumper sticker on any of these cars that speaks to the ongoing carnage and slaughter going on around our nation with the unborn (55 million since 1973) or in many cases (we now know thanks to investigations that Kermit Gosnell’s practices have stimulated) with those babies who survived their abortions and were actually born alive, but then murdered.
I’m reminded of John Stuart Mill’s words when he said, “War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
In my opinion, the men and women who founded our nation and gave their lives for it were far “better” men and women than those who lead us today. To all who have served in the military ever since – even in the midst of lazy and selfish Americans who scorned your sacrifice – my hat is off to you.
P.S. I’m certainly not justifying every war or skirmish we have been involved in, nor am I unaware of the scandalous sexual immorality and abuse that is going on in our military in these days. But in general – their lack of selfishness and willingness to lay down their lives for their nation and even the nations – is much to be admired and is sorely needed in our day.