Today we remember over a million Americans who have
given their lives in the service of this country in all our wars
including the Revolutionary War. Our most costly war in terms of the
number killed was the Civil War.
Listen: "Letters from War" by Mark Schultz
During wartime, we have had over 43 millions Americans serve. Some of the statistics break down as follows:
U.S. Military serving during war...43,185,893
Other Deaths (In theater).................14,560
Other Deaths in Service .................525,930
Living War Veterans ..................17,835,000
All Living Veterans ....................23,698,000
There are an enormous number of people to whom we owe a great
deal. May we never forget what they have done! Of course, when we see
the large numbers we might be inclined to forget the individuals and
their personal stories.
The last time I was in Washington D.C., I
went to visit the various
war memorials including Arlington National Cemetery. I was very moved
by my visit to the Vietnam War Memorial. I felt such a profound sense
of grief. I went to see the memorial and to find the name of my boyhood
friend, Glenn Simmons. I found it and made an etching as many do at
that memorial. I don't know why the Vietnam Memorial is so moving
except for the reason that every one of the over 58,098 names are listed
there. It isn't just a number. There are actual names of every one.
Every one of those soldiers died one at a time. Those were
individual men and women, mostly very young, who wanted to live as much
as you do. They wanted to be married and to raise a family. They had
their hopes, dreams, interests, and loves.
I guarantee you, as much as they were willing to serve, most of
them, they really didn't want to be there. They would have been happier
to have known times of peace rather than war. In the end, pretty much
everybody hates war, particularly those who have fought in it.
The problem comes when there are people who either want us dead or want
us to be their servants. If not that, then they want to be able to do
whatever they want without anyone restricting them. It is why Plato
observed that "order must be imposed." It doesn't just happen. Pascal
said that justice without force is a myth.
History has demonstrated
that those who will not defend themselves will be overrun by those
willing to attack. St. Augustine said, "War and conquest are a sad
necessity in the eyes of men of principle, yet it would be still more
unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."
I know that you and I respect the sacrifice that people have made
in the past, but what does God think of all this? You get a
pretty good clue when you read the Bible.
2 Samuel 23 begins with these words:"These are the last
words of David (verse 2) The Spirit of the LORD spoke through
me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of
Israel said to me: When one rules over men in righteousness, when he
rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the
grass from the earth." ... Click to continue reading.