My heart pounded. My mind raced. Did he have a wife?... Did he have kids?... Where was he from?... What unit was he with?
It was the first time I'd been ordered to present the American flag to the family of a fallen warrior. As I assembled my uniform and studied the prescribed verbiage, I prayed that God would be in our midst. Some things take supernatural strength. Being a flagbearer is one such thing.
Nothing could prepare me for the moment when I came face to face with his grieving wife. She had questions that I couldn’t answer – brokenness that I couldn’t fix. Yet, cradled against my chest was an American flag that belonged to her. My voice cracked as I began to speak. “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of [Service member's rank and name].”
It was my duty to ensure this fallen warrior would never be forgotten and that his family knew his sacrifice was not in vain. As I placed the flag in his widow’s hands, it transformed from a symbol of freedom into a bitter reminder that freedom has a name.
Will you join me in remembering fallen warriors this weekend? John 15:13 states, “There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.” If my calculations are right, at least two people have done that for me and for you … Jesus Christ and the American Warrior.
GO WEST this Memorial Day:
- P ray. A special a prayer for families impacted by war.
- E ngage. Most local VFW and/or American Legion groups have community-specific activities.
- A sk. Families and friends of fallen warriors keep the memories alive by sharing the stories.
- C elebrate. Fire up the grill, throw the pigskin...do something and reflect on our heros.
- E ncourage. As you know, families are still mourning - encourage them to keep on keeping on.
Moral of the story: We celebrate Memorial Day because this day was earned – not given - by brave men and women who we shall never forget.