Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day: America's Most Expensive Vacation

As I was looking for a picture to describe my prayers for our Nation this one captured it the best...reunion.

There have been several "AWE" moments in my life time where it becomes very apparent to me how costly freedom is. The first was September 11th. I will never forget where I was when I heard the news. My country under attack. Do you remember how it felt to feel so completely vulnerable? So unsure of the future? I remember laying in bed that night wondering what if something terrible happened to our country while I slept. How different Sept. 12 was going to be. A fear pierced tender places in my soul that I didn't even know existed.

The day after 9-11, my cousin signed up to defend and protect his country. Growing up, I remember playing war with him, all his childhood camo gear, his "hide outs" from the enemy (me). He told me, "All I ever wanted to be was a soldier". He served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. He has earned 2 purple hearts. His future is forever changed because he rose to the occasion. I went to sleep 9-11 wondering if I would wake to another attack and he went to sleep preparing to attack. Do you remember 9-11? For his sake I wish you would.

Several years ago, I came across an article in Texas Monthly featuring a friend from high school. He was a paratrooper. I'd never heard of that branch of service before. They are the guys that jump from airplanes in the middle of the night and rescue our soldiers, his brothers. In his article, he reflected on the places his boots had taken him and how serene it was when his service time was up. How strange it must have been to pack those boots away. How does one return? How does one man or woman survive war even if they come away without a scrape? Reading that article, moved me. It moved me from being a safe, self absorbed and oblivious stay at home mom to being ever conscious of the gift freedom is.

Several "AWE" moments of freedom I have encountered have to do with the wives here at home. On Mother's Day, a few years ago, I was having breakfast at Jim's with my family. Sitting at a table not too far from us was a young mom of three little girls. They were all dressed lovely and eating so nicely together. My husband picked up the tap for her breakfast. She came to us in tears. Her husband had been deployed and she was here in San Antonio alone. There was no one to pat her on the back. No one to observe her daily sacrifices on the behalf of her husband, children and her country. There is a cost for freedom.

Laying in bed one night, I was reflecting on this cost. I was deeply moved over the war. How many days went by with out even acknowledging that our country was even at war? I was overwhelmed and deeply grieved at the thought of the soldiers returning home with war so intimately ingrained in them. Their return home from seeing and experiencing the gruesome, heart breaking victories and defeats. Was it possible to sit down at the dinner table and freely converse? Was it possible for them to sleep in their own beds and not feel like aliens in their own country? How do these soldiers return to work, pay their mortgage and deal with the everyday? I remember begging God for miracles. Not just that God would save physically but that He would restore them spiritually.

For my cousin, high school friend, soldiers now and soldiers then-

They have all paid dearly for a holiday we celebrate only yearly.

Our politians may take a vacation

But tonight I shed tears for our nation.

Mothers who's sons have not returned

Children who's father they yearn.

Heal us Lord. Ignite passion in our land.

We beg you Lord, for without You our Nation will not stand.

Thanks we give You. Let Freedom Ring.

It will be a miracle for a Soldier's return without war's sting.

It is for Freedom, the Soldier's have stood up and fought.

Forgive us of our selfishness when we have thanked their families not.

Let us extend our hand, offer to babysit at least.

Only You can slay this war's beast.

With a sling and stone You've brought giants down.

Keep our enemies far don't let our Nation drown.

We call out to You in our time of need.

Let our leaders run to You at brake neck speed.

Allow us as a country, one household to another

Stand in the gap - strengthen our brothers.

May we stand firm as citizens of the best Nation united.


Show us how to mark out a strait path.

Let us grow Godly and divert Your wrath.

One Nation under God...the simplicity is true

Our Nation doesn't have a prayer if we don't walk with You.

This Memorial Day, in honor of Soldiers lost

We close our eyes tonight, safely do we sleep at Freedom's cost.

No payment here on earth can say thank you enough

But let us unite as the going gets tough.

Wasted their lives - let this never be

For it was for freedom-for you and for me.

May the Lord be close to the broken hearted and faithful to deliver those crushed in spirit. To the wives here in America holding down the fort - I say thank you. May you have peace that surpasses all understanding, may your burden be miraculously light and may time pass quickly. To the parents of soldiers past and present - I hope I never know the weight each of you carry. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

God Bless America!