Just a Common
He was just a common
soldier, and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should
remind us: we may need his like again.
The saga of the
"The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving
steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American
base in Greenland.... Hans J. Danielsen, the ship's captain, was
concerned and cautious. Earlier the Tampa had detected a submarine
with its sonar.... German U-boats were constantly prowling these
vital sea lanes, and several ships had already been blasted and
"Private William B. Bednar found himself floating in oil-smeared
water surrounded by dead bodies and debris. 'I could hear men crying,
pleading, praying,' Bednar recalls. 'I could also hear the chaplains
preaching courage. Their voices were the only thing that kept me
"By this time, most of the men were topside, and the chaplains opened
a storage locker and began distributing life jackets.... When there
were no more lifejackets in the storage room, the chaplains
removed theirs and gave them to four frightened young men. 'It
was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven,'
said John Ladd, another survivor who saw the chaplains' selfless
"Soldiers and Countrymen
(including General Washington), We have met this evening perhaps
for the last time. We have shared the toils of the march, the peril
of the fight, and the dismay of the retreat, alike. We have endured
the cold and hunger... and the scourge of the foreign oppressor....
And now, soldiers and brethren, we have met in this peaceful valley,
on the eve of battle, in the sunlight that to-morrow morn will glimmer
on the scenes of blood....God grant that it may not be for the last
"It is a solemn moment!... And in the hour of battle,
when all around is darkness, lit by the lurid cannon-glare and the
piercing musket-flash, when the wounded strew the ground and the
dead litter your path, then remember, soldiers, that God is with
you. The eternal God fights for you....
"And now, brethren and soldiers, I bid you all farewell.
Many of us will fall in the battle of tomorrow, and in the memory
of all will ever rest and linger the quiet scene of this autumnal
"...By the afternoon,
one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel
kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another
flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman
got on the PA and said this,
"Folks. As you can
see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only
have 14 days of leave and we're trying to get them where they
need to go without spending any more time in an airport then
they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell
the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight.
We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you're
doing, we are here for you and we love you."
At that, the entire
terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section
of America, broke into sustained and heart-felt applause. The soldiers
looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their
boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.
And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight
and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight. That little
moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we
will win this war.
US Veteran Statistics:
"[President George Washington said:] 'If we desire peace, it must
be known that we are at all times, ready for war.'
the birth of the United States of American on July 4, 1776, no single
generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending
freedom by force of arms. More than 42 Million American men and
women have served in time of war...more than a MILLION have purchased
freedom with their lives."
"Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: Those who had
given all their tomorrows.... But in a world saturated with selfhood,
where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of
sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration....
has become a metaphor for the current conflict -- a victim of fratricide,
disillusionment, coverup and possibly conspiracy. By comparison,
Dunham, who saved several of his comrades in Iraq by falling on
an insurgent's grenade, is the unknown soldier. The New York Times,
on its front page for 32 consecutive days, put the story of Dunham's
Medal of Honor on the third page of section B....
The Mainstream Media]
"Desmond Doss, for instance, was a conscientious objector who entered
the army in 1942 and became a medic. Because of his religious
convictions and refusal to carry a weapon, the men in his
unit intimidated and threatened him, trying to get him to transfer
out. He refused and they grudgingly accepted him.
in 1945 he was with them in Okinawa when they got cut to pieces
assaulting a Japanese stronghold. Everyone but Mr. Doss retreated
from the rocky plateau where dozens of wounded remained. Under
fire, he treated them and then began moving them one by one
to a steep escarpment where he roped them down to safety. Each
time he succeeded, he prayed, 'Dear God, please let me get just
one more man.' By the end of the day, he had single-handedly
saved 75 GIs....
impoverish ourselves by shunting these heroes and their experiences
to the back pages of our national consciousness."
(By Peter Collier, Wall Street Journal,
Bataan 60 years later - Remembering those who served:
"John M. Wright... remembered the Army and Navy women nurses, the
'angels' of Bataan and Corregidor [Philippines, World War II], who
refused to leave the wounded when ordered out. He also remembered
a truckload of 20 badly wounded men who were to be taken to a 'hospital'
but instead were driven away and then beheaded....
Francies of Cleveland repaired Japanese army radios in prison and
subtly sabotaged each one. Malcolm Amos of Afton, Iowa, a medic
who nursed the sick and injured at the prison at Cabanatuan,
was a large man who returned home weighing 90 pounds....
"Everett Reamer of Lake Havasu, Ariz., was tortured for 28 straight
days after being taken as a slave to Japan; he kept
sane by repeating the 23rd Psalm each day. He is still a
tough guy. In fact, they are all pretty tough guys.
these men have a collective feeling of being abandoned by their
country during the battle in the Philippines.... They have not
forgotten that President Franklin Roosevelt, in a radio speech,
promised them that help was on the way when it had already been
decided that Europe would take first call on men and supplies.
They were never told the truth of their situation and they
kept fighting until there was nothing left to fight with.
As one veteran told me: 'We never surrendered! We were surrendered.'
....There is still such sadness in the voices of these men when
they speak of how they were treated as prisoners and slaves."
wise and loyal soldier, Sullivan Baloo, was killed at the first
battle of Bull Run. Read his
More War Letters
"At 6:00 A.M. on the 4th of July in
1863, it rained in Gettysburg -- it rained on many of the 27,000
wounded and dying Confederate and Union soldiers. It rained on the
thousands of dead yet to be buried. As the day wore on, Lee's shattered
army left Gettysburg and Maj. George Rogers Clark Todd, 10th GA
Infantry (surgeon in Semmes' Brigade) headed south, leaving behind
the battlefield his brother-in-law, Abraham Lincoln, would come
to consecrate just 4-1/2 months later."
Berit's father, a courageous young leader in the Norwegian resistance
(hjemmefronten) during the Nazi occupation (1940-1945), suffered
in [Grini] concentration camp but survived by God's grace. Thousands
of American troops had participated in the liberation of Norway
-- and some gave their lives.
Let us cross the river:
"The mix of joy and
sorrow, the quick and the dead, the grief and pride, then and now
-- it is all as it should be in a free country aware for a moment
of the price of freedom. ...
years after D-Day, sitting on the wall of another military cemetery,
the one on the bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, the general who led
that invasion thought back to that day ['The men called him Ike']:
'These men came here to storm these beaches for one purpose only,
not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions
that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom. Many
thousands of men have died for such ideals as these, but these young
boys were cut off in their prime.'...
faces in the photographs have an innocence and dignity forever preserved,
and something else: a loneness. Each stands out. Yet today each
is not alone in our memory; they form the real grand army of the
republic, rank upon rank, a long gray line stretching back to Gettysburg
and Antietam, to Yorktown and Saratoga, as far back as memory....
a good holiday, Gentle Reader, a restful holiday, and return from
the land of memory strengthened and renewed. Nations need rest and
remembrance, too, because the battles are far from over."
2 Corinthians 4:7
George Washington's Farewell Address:
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity,
Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would
that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert
these great pillars of human happiness.... And let us with caution
indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without
Faithful to Him
Note: As we thank
God for the faithful soldiers who gave their lives for this country,
we can't forget that our freedom is ultimately based on faith in
God, His protection and His victories.
Today, as America is rapidly
trading His guidelines for pluralism and global solidarity, we face
growing corruption and decline.
God's Warnings for our
and the Destruction of America]
pray with us that the challenges ahead will turn many hearts back
to Him in faith and continual thanksgiving for His patience and
mercy toward us!
There's a land
that is fairer than day,
by faith we an see it afar;
For the Father
waits over the way,
To prepare us a
dwelling place there.