Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I grew up very conscious of it. Being raised in my grandparents home meant that I was privy to stories of WWII. Pictures of my uncles and my dad in army uniform adorned the walls and pieces of memorabilia were casually found throughout that little house as well. I have a collection of my father's personal snapshots taken of a Nazi death camp that are museum worthy. The Washington DC Holocaust museum tells me they are now receiving more than they can handle since the attics of WWII vets are being cleaned and pictures are discovered.
My grandparents suffered during that war. They sent all three sons and one son-in-law away to a foreign land, not knowing if any would return. (All 4 did!) They told stories of listening to the radio while wringing their hands and wiping tears with the same. I have old newspaper clippings telling of that little town's sons that did not come home.
Movie news clips did nothing to lighten their concern as the United States and their Allies fought the battles in the European and Pacific arenas. Eisenhower, Hitler, Mussolini, & Stalin were more than names in history books, they were real and those men were discussed. My history lessons began at home.
Much time has passed. Other wars have been waged and won or lost, their battles televised, their significance determined by the news media and how much time is allotted. Debates are held publicly and privately about the necessity of battle.
Recently I heard a young man in Israel proclaim, "young men go to war because they are the only ones stupid enough to do that."
That statement has been ringing through my brain since. I found it very offensive. There is NO doubt that many folks in the US and around the world feel the same.
I've been reflecting on that statement this Memorial Day.
Yes, war is terrible! Innocent lives are taken, brave young men and women are lost. Yes, it is terrible!!! It is unfair and it is bloody and it is AWFUL!!
And it is sometimes necessary. When?
There is another great debate brewing. The question: should the United States be the policeman of the world? Should we get involved in areas that are "none of our business?" Should we be responsible for the safety of people that provide no benefit to our national interests?
There are many valid concerns, no doubt.
My thought: If the US is NOT the keeper of peace, then who is? At this point there is no country with adequate military power, let alone the moral resolve. Who will protect if the US doesn't?
War is necessary only if you believe that evil truly exists. It doesn't take long to spot it.
Think about the folks that kidnapped the 300 Nigerian girls. AND the MANY other atrocities around the world.
We have to be careful to identify evil, but it is not impossible to do. (It's like pornography, you can't describe it but you know it when you see it!)
(Years ago a very liberal friend announced at a meeting I was attending, "it's their culture, we have no right to interfere." Before I could take a breath or think, I answered a little too loudly, "murdering babies and raping women and children is always wrong, no matter what the culture." You could have heard a pin drop.)
I will never understand the philosophy of "if it's not on my front porch, I don't care."
I truly believe "if you don't care, it WILL be on your front porch."
Isn't it ALL on our front porch if we take seriously the command, Love your neighbor.
War is TERRIBLE! And should be avoided at all costs.
BUT, evil exists on this planet and WILL until the final judgment day arrives and the King of all Kings steps in and makes it right. Until then, don't WE (Christians) have a responsibility to love and care for the least of these?
If Christians and this Christian nation do not, who will?
I salute ALL those brave patriots that have and are serving in the armed forces of the US.
They've got something deep inside of them that most of us do not have, a view of the world that goes beyond their "front porch."
"We should not be sad these brave soldiers died, we should be thankful that they lived." Patton
Where would we (and the world) be without them?