“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The politically correct thing today is to call every man and woman who puts on the uniform a hero. I think this trend stems more from guilt more than appreciation. I may be wrong about that… I often am.
Nevertheless, for me, the fact remains that since 1950, we have sent over 100,000 soldiers, Marines, sailors, an airmen to their deaths in wars we never meant to win… never had the guts to win. Of course, there are no real winners in war, only survivors and mourners.
However, to multiply the numbers without achieving the outcome they were sent to obtain is criminal. Hence the guilt, rightfully owned by the media, politicians, and those weak of will.
I promise you not a one of those serving or having served believes themselves to be a hero. I surely do not… not in any sense of the word. For whatever reason we enlisted, those who fought and died, did so not for America, but for the person on their left and the person on their right… their friends. Only in that nebulous abstract did they fight for America.
I was not in combat. Though I did hazard my life doing crazy sh… stuff that could have killed a lot of people. But there were friends I never met in trouble and we had one goal… get them out alive. No heroics there. Simply a job to do for my friends.
We are honoring veterans today as much for their intent as their actions. They set their life aside to go serve others, and in this sense, each lost their life if only for a short time. It is fitting that we honor them.
Unheralded are the men and women—caregivers, wives, husbands, parents, children—ordinary people, who set aside their life every day as an offering of love to a friend and loved one? These are the true heroes. Everyone who goes the second mile, everyone who turns aside from their path, if only for a moment, to help knows a bit of what the soldier feels.
And if they grumble in the trenches of life, the soldier knows their heart and the burden they bear. I am an advocate of loving oneself, but not if the reason is to feel good about/for oneself. We love ourselves to be a reservoir of love that can be poured out to others… the greatest love one may have is love that flows outward, hazarding pain and wounds to serve another. Our veterans know this… they have lived it.
“Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God…”