SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2010

War is Hell

As I sit here listening to the blasts of fireworks that erupt with timely explosion, I am reminded of the many days that have passed since I can first remember sitting out in a field in my hometown, Murfreesboro, TN, watching the elaborate cascade of lights. This wasn’t just a show, it was a spectacle. There was a huge factory, Chromolox, if my memory serves me and all around it was a big field and each July fourth we sat out on the grass, with mosquito’s biting and the grass itching and the smoldering heat of that small southern town. But for me it was magic illuminated. Everyone laughed and “oohed and awed” and we were, for at least a moment, happy. That was during the time when my older brother was far away from home, flying Huey helicopters, defending the very freedoms we hold so dear. He was in the awful Vietnam War, my beloved Jim, whom I missed with a never-ending ache. My heart was heavy knowing I was missing these precious moments of childhood with him. He himself was just the tender age of 21. How savage war is and fleeting is the time of the youth that is sacrificed on the field of battle. But, it has been that way through many centuries and yet it never gets any easier. It is a part of life, no matter how seemingly cruel, that mothers have to send their boys off to fight and possibly never come back home. The tragedy is, it appears we humans never learn how not to war, pride and arrogance are still alive and well, world-wide. Yet I am not bitter. I know it is a necessary evil, to defend what is right and those who are being oppressed. I don’t feel it is my right to lash out at the powers that be, but it is my duty to stand strong for those who have fought the good fight, those who have come before me and made the ultimate sacrifice. How ugly the bitterness is when we disrespect the faithful ones who give up everything to keep us free. We live in the greatest nation in the world. It is great because of our mercy and grace to help those in need. I still remember the excitement when I would go with my mom to pick Jim up at the airport, when he came home on leave. I was very proud and always without the right thing to say when I saw him again. He was the bravest person I had ever known; he was beautiful. I so wanted to tell him what he meant to me, I guess he knew, I never left his side. I wanted him to tell me all about the heroic missions he had been on and all the ins and outs of military life, but he didn’t. I know now he probably couldn’t. War is Hell. But, even as a young girl of eleven, I could see the pain in his eyes, surrounded by the excitement of a young man on a mission. I know our father, who himself fought in the Korean War, would have been proud, had he seen him coming off that plane. But as it turned out, he was not there, his choices had taken him away from us, living his life apart from our beautiful family. But, I am also proud of his service to his country. Those days are far gone now, but this little girl is still proud of her big brother and I am thankful for all those who have served our great country. I don’t know how they have done this mighty work, I tremble at the thought. I am also reminded that had they not I would possibly not have the freedom to enjoy the fireworks shows and live in a peaceful nation now. God Bless my Jim and my daddy and my hometown who has lost so many. Thank you to all the men and women who serve. God Bless those mothers who let them all go, with tears in their eyes and prayers in their hearts. God Bless America

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