I find myself thinking a lot about this coming Memorial Day. For one thing, living in this retirement community, easily two-thirds of the men here have been in WWII and in the Korean War. A surprising number of women have also served in those wars, mostly as military nurses. The staff at St. Paul’s puts big thank-you posters on the door of each vet, so it’s easy to see just how many served.
I’ve also become a lunch-time fan of The Military Channel. I was a history major in college, so knew some of the broad strokes of the nation’s various wars, but the MC goes into the conflicts in a lot more detail with film and personal narratives.
The overriding feeling I have when watching those men and women is shock at how young they were. Heck, my Dad was piloting a B-29 when he was in his early 20’s, and those were 18-19 year old kids being thrown on the beaches in Europe and the Pacific islands. Truly, they were the Greatest Generation, bar none.
Now we move to the present day, and the kids serving in the military are just as young and in my estimation, just as great. Like the vets of old, they put their lives on the line so that others may have life. Although all war is horrific, methinks the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been especially so. The weapons used are far more insidious and destructive, plus there’s the fact that oftentimes a soldier doesn’t know if s/he is dealing with friend or foe.
I pray for their safety and well-being, and above all I pray that the military establishment give our newest vets the medical and mental care they need and deserve. And may members of Congress and the Administration think long and hard about intervention in Syria and Iran.
And for all of you who have served our country … thank you!!
Much love … many prayers!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.