Remembering: Love, Honor and Obey

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A Google/Getty Image < Memorial Day is so significant because it unveils before our eyes the sacrifices of our veterans who fought the wars to preserve our nation. The one thing that makes it exceptionally sad is the fact that freedom has been paid in advance by the lives of so many Americans. Imagine the sadness of those who lost their loved ones.
      From the cities to the heartland of America almost every military family have been touched by it. Although war is unthinkable it has become an instrument to preserve our peace.
      More than 750,000 lives were lost in the Civil War which brought about the much needed unity in our country. It also abolished slavery and in that war, brothers were pitted against brothers, families against families all because the South insisted in preserving slavery as a way of life. When the call was given, the Northerns “obeyed” the call and presented themselves.
ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 27:  Alex Burgess gets emotional while visiting the gravesite of an old friend who was killed in Iraq, in section 60 at Arlington Cemetery, May 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. For Memorial Day President Obama layed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, paying tribute to military veterans past and present who have served and sacrificed their lives for their country.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, VA – MAY 27: Alex Burgess gets emotional while visiting the gravesite of an old friend who was killed in Iraq, in section 60 at Arlington Cemetery, May 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. For Memorial Day President Obama layed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, paying tribute to military veterans past and present who have served and sacrificed their lives for their country. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

      58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War, so touchingly memorialized in the war memorials that dotted our nation’s capital; Washington D.C. and across the nation. IN my readings, I came across the Story of “Babe”.
      In April 1943, twenty-year-old Corado Ciarlo from Waterbury, Connecticut, known as “Babe” to his family and friends, was bogged down on the beaches at Anzio with the Fifth Allied Army. The supposedly surprise Allied attack on Italy had been anticipated by the Germans, who kept up a constant barrage of fire as Allied forces fought their way inland.
      By the time the Anzio campaign ended, 7,000 Americans were dead and another 36,000 were wounded or missing. Babe was one of the lucky ones-he was still alive. But he was also about to embark, along with the rest of the Fifth Allied Army, on a bloody push toward Rome.

      Babe wrote to his family back in Waterbury whenever he could. His mother, a widow, lived for his letters. Every day she would wait on the porch hoping the postman would bring another letter from her middle son. When the letters arrived, they said nothing of the horrors Babe had seen. Instead, he was brief and upbeat:

I am in the best of health and I hope to hear the same from all of you always. Well, things here are moving pretty smooth and the only thing I do is eat and sleep and if I keep it up much longer I’ll be a barrel.

Love, Babe

      Babe’s story is just one of dozens told by World War II veterans and their families in the NEH-supported seven-part documentary, The War, produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and written by Geoffrey C. Ward. The film debuted public television.

“World War II veterans are dying at a rate of one thousand a day,” says Burns. “Each death is a set of memories, almost like an entire library disappearing. We felt a kind of urgency to learn their stories and record their deeds.”

Our son served in the Navy and had a tour in Afghanistan. There he saw first hand the sacrifices our men and women have to endure in defense of our freedom. Away from their families, they held on to one another. Looking out not only for themselves but for civilians as well, caught in the crossfire.

As we celebrate Memorial Day, let us not forget the meaning of freedom and the price we all have to pay to preserve it. For some of us who lived through the war we can only imagine the anxiety, the horrors and the times they have to get on their knees praying for protection.

Let us not forget that the freedom we enjoy to day had been paid in advance by all our veterans. For them it was always about “Loving” our country; “Honoring” the sacrament of freedom and “Obeying” the call: that the call to fight for freedom is a holy commitment to the preservation of our country.

This weekend as we enjoy the barbecues, the laughters, the food, the happy event that bring families together; I encourage to stop and spend a little quiet time or a short group prayer thanking all of them. When you meet veterans in uniforms, greet to thank them for what they have done for you and your family.

Happy Memorial Day as we observe the lyrics from hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”

At the sign of triumph; Satan’s host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers; On to victory.
Hell’s foundations quiver; At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices; Loud your anthems raise.

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