My Two Cents
November 10, 2019, 12:00 AM

When we come to the communion table on this weekend honoring the sacrifice made by the men and women who serve our country we have a special opportunity to ask ourselves the question,

 

“What would it take to move us to lay down our lives?”

 

Veteran’s Day gives me a regular opportunity to remember the veteran who is closest to my heart.  Dad served in World War II and in Korea. In World War II he was a dive bomber, which meant that he was close enough to his targets to see the damage his plane delivered. When Korea rolled around he decided he’d had enough of that, and volunteered to fly an unarmed high altitude reconnaissance plane that took the pictures necessary for other more deadly missions to be successful.

 

On the tenth anniversary of my ordination, in 1993, my Dad wrote me a wonderful note of congratulations. But it was a note that was brimming with the remorse he felt more than forty years later from having had to take the lives of other people.

 

That is the burden our veterans carry. The hidden cost of war. And it is a burden that is never fully lifted.

 

Sometimes I wonder what motivated Dad to accept the burden of service.

 

He wanted to be a pilot so badly that he memorized the letters on the eye test after failing it twice so he could pass it on his third try. But it wasn’t his love of flying that prompted him to accept that burden.

 

We have the pictures to prove that he loved his fellow soldiers. But I don’t think it was the band of brothers that moved him to accept the burden of being a soldier himself.

 

He loved his country to be sure.  But I don’t think it was even his love for his country that finally moved him to make this great sacrifice.

 

No, I’m pretty sure that it was the life, and health, and future of his family that, in the end, motivated my dad to risk his life, and to accept the terrible burden of taking the lives of others. Like so many other veterans he rarely gave us a glimpse into his wartime experience. But he never shook it either.

 

On this Veteran’s Day, let’s remember that all of us have the lives we have because of the sacrifice of others. If nothing else, our time around the communion table reminds us to give thanks for all of those who have made that sacrifice. And to wonder how we can live to best honor that sacrifice.

 

 

Welcome to worship.