Just this afternoon I was able to catch part of one of the episodes of Band of Brothers on the History Channel. I've read the book twice and seen the entire mini-series but the power of it never fades. I am always in awe of the men that fought in World War II and their humble heroism. I suppose I would like to take just a few minutes, as the Fourth of July approaches, to say "thank you" to those who have taken their turn defending freedom throughout the history of the United States. I fear that with the way that values and culture are heading there will be fewer and fewer who are willing to recognize what these valiant men have done and show their appreciation.
Three of my grandfathers were, in some way, involved in World War II. My mother's dad served with the Civil Air Patrol in Manteo, NC. Their mission was to hunt German U-boats off the east coast and keep America's citizens safe. My father's dad, about whom I know very little as his passed on before I was born, trained pilots. My step-mother's dad, was an infantryman in the European theatre and fought in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.
I myself served eight years in the NC National Guard and served one year and five days in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though I too have answered my countries call I feel it is nothing compared to what my forefathers endured in World War II. Whether they survived or perished the men of our armed forces paid dearly for the freedom of, not only Americans, but also for that of other countries citizens. For that I give my deepest and more heartfelt thanks.
There are so many thousands of men, and women alive today that served from the beaches of Normandy, to the frozen hills of Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam and the deserts of the Middle East. To all of you I say thank you.
As I reflect on these facts I cannot help but be shocked by the absurdity of war. War, in my estimation, is the most horrific thing that man has ever devised. With its ability to destroy human life, twist human minds and rip apart families it can only be described as horrific. War is the admission of utter failure to negotiate. It is the terrible and tragic end to diplomacy. Even with that in mind I know that there are some wars that must be fought, tyrants that must be deposed and evil men that must be removed. However, I cannot help but feel that war is the tragedy of tragedies and something that must be worked to eliminate. The Bible tells us that war will only end with the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ and that in the last times there will be many wars.
Perhaps, the most distressing thing about war is the fact that those who participate in it are often those who have little choice in the matter. However, the most heroic men are those who choose to become one without a choice and volunteer themselves and put their lives on the line so that others don't have to. I am no fan of war and I eagerly await the day when there are none to be fought but to those who have fought, particularly those last few veterans from World War II, I say thank you and God bless you.