Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I was probably six or seven years old when I became aware of the Vietnam war. We lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my dad attended ORU and worked part-time as a youth pastor.

The teens then - oh, they seemed so old and mature to me - wore aluminum wrist bands with the name of their friends or family fighting a million miles away in unknown jungles. Perhaps they wore the name of a soldier they'd never met.

We moved a year or so later to a small town outside of Tulsa, Haskell. There, one of the young women in our church lost her fiance in Nam.

I'm sad to say I don't remember much about it, but since then, war has always impacted me. Not like some. I'm proud of our men and women who've given their lives for my safety and freedom.

"They stand on the wall..."

A semi-history buff, I stayed awake nights as a young teen reading no-holds-barred WW 2 books. I can remember slamming one of the thick, academic books closed as I read of the Nazi concentration camps, and the experimental labs, the testing they did on live humans.

I felt sick. I felt fear. And since then, I've loved our military and those who fought so men like Adolph Hitler don't succeed.

The world is still full of tyrants, of evil, and it's naive to believe "good dialog" will simply do the trick.

We need our men and women in uniform. I'm proud of America's strength because it is the thing that keeps us free.

That and the grace of God.

Many years ago while working near DC, I visited the Vietnam Memorial War. Standing before those list of names, I wept. But I am oh so grateful.


Susan said...

I went to high school in NH from 1969-1973. I wore a metal wrist band with the name of a soldier I'd never met. Eventually I stopped wearing it, but I kept it, and I never forgot that name. In 1987, my husband and I visited the Viet Nam Memorial Wall, and that name wasn't there. I was relieved. Years later, I searched on the 'net to see if I could find some info on him. I was able to contact a relative of that soldier who told me that he had indeed come home safely and lived a long, productive life. I thanked God for that, and I appreciate your post that brought back those memories.

Sharon Hayes said...

Rachel, what a beautiful tribute - John Burleson was the name of the young man that was killed - he was in the Tulsa youth group, received 2 purple hearts before he was killed in a fire fight. He was in Nam just a little over a year. I would love to go to DC to see all the war memorials and find John's name on the Nam wall.

Grandma and I were talking yesterday how every generation from yours to today do not know the TRUTH about WWII and others. They are being taught to discredit American instead of being PROUD of America. We watched the Memorial Concert from DC on Sunday evening - that is always a great tribute to our country and our military.

Thank you Rachel
Love Mom