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Old 06-01-2010, 05:57 AM
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Hollywood9s
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: South of Pennsyltucky
Posts: 9,496
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I got this yesterday morning in an email from one of my co-workers, thought it was very fitting to this thread.........



A Chaplain's Thought for the Day


Memorial Day

May 2010




Memorial Day - We'll talk about those who paid the last full measure and who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. As a chaplain who served in Dover's mortuary through eight years, I can see how it's tempting to describe our fallen heroes that way. Some would come to Dover without a visible mark on them, others would come back unrecognizable, but they all came having given their lives. They had paid it all and had no sacrifice left to make.

But . . . . . I think about the young Marine's wife struggling to raise a child now, the parents who grieve deeply having lost the race to the grave to their Army Specialist daughter, the ball turret gunner's son whose own son never got to crawl up into the lap of his grandfather, the daughter whose uncle must walk her down the aisle because her Air Force dad never did come home, the friend who longs for the Navy friend she lost in a terrorist attack on his ship. I remember Laura, an 84-year-old woman in the last church I served who had never been married. She said to me, "the only man I ever loved died when the prisoner-of-war ship he was on went down in the Pacific in '45." I think of the lifetimes of sacrifices and full measures people like this are making.

In Church on Sunday, I will not ask the Veterans to stand to be honored for their service. They surely deserve it, but this is not their holiday. Instead, I will ask to stand those whose have loved ones whose names are forever linked with places like Bataan, Normandy, Chosin, Cam My, Beirut, Fallujah, Baghdad, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Years ago, I watched a young woman reach out and touch the name of her father etched into a war memorial. I watched her crumple to the ground sobbing. This day is just as much for her and all like her who carried and will continue to carry the sacrifice through the years. This day is for those who, like her, continue to pay into the last full measure.

Last, and least of all, this day is for those of us who didn't lose a loved one, who don't have the memories, who are not feeling the sacrifice or paying the price - it is ours to honor those who have. Go online and look at rows of gravesites, go to a town square and find a war memorial, walk into a place of worship and find a framed list of names and note the ones with stars alongside, google "gold star mothers" and read the stories, watch a you-tube clip of a solemn twenty-one gun salute at a lonely gravesite, then find one who is still paying the price and feeling the sacrifice and tenderly, sacredly, thank them and honor their full measure!


Ch Lt Col (Retired) John W. Groth, USAF
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