I remember 1967 as if it were yesterday when I served my tour of duty in Vietnam.  When I think of my brothers in arms who did not come back home, my heart breaks and when I think of the people of South Vietnam and the brutal slaughter they endured at the hands of the Viet Cong and NVA while we were there as well as after we withdrew my heart breaks.  When I think of all the Wars and Conflicts in which American servicemen and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice I am saddened and a sense of gratitude floods my heart.  They paid the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I could enjoy Freedom.  That is something that must never be forgotten!

I’ve had people ask about Vietnam and wonder why I don’t talk about it other than in generalities.  I have had people tell me their loved ones would never talk about the War, whichever war they had been in and wondered why.  I believe I can answer that, although I make no pretense that I can speak for everyone.  One of the reasons that those who have been in War do not like to talk about their experiences is PAIN.  If they talked about it they would have to relive the experience and most want to forget not to remember.  Although those who served knew and know they were fighting for Freedom, the pain of knowing you took another human being’s life is there.  Most would do it again because of their love for Family and Country and believe that Freedom is worth whatever sacrifice that must be made.

When I was a young and those coming back from Korea were silent about what they saw and did, I wondered why?  Some of them had quirks about their personality and demeanor that was not there before they went to war.  The term to describe it then was, “shell shock”, whereas today most call it “PTSD”.  Those men lived with the memory of the war day and night and could not shake it and it made everything thing in life difficult for them.  In my own experience, I was headed to potential alcoholism and the unsettledness I was experiencing was tormenting but few knew my pain.  About a year and a half after I came home, I received Jesus as my personal savior and that transformed my life and brought a healing and peace I did not think was possible.  I don’t talk about Vietnam other than that I was there and only generalized tidbits of that time not that I am ashamed that I served but see no redeeming purpose in my reliving those times.  I have found that most who saw combat do not want to talk about their experience.  Some do, and that is therapeutic for them.

Today, Memorial Day, I ask that everyone take a moment to Remember the Fallen and to allow Gratitude to rise within your heart for their sacrifice.  They were not afforded the privilege of living and enjoying the Freedom that we have today.  They did not get to see their children grow up and hold their grandchildren in their arms.  They did not get to build a life after the War as we have been allowed to do.  THEY DIED that we might LIVE.  No, they cannot save our souls but they fought to preserve our liberty and freedom.  I am THANKFUL for their sacrifice and all who fought and served in any capacity.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! 

I will not say Happy Memorial Day but THANK YOU to those who served and died and pray that everyone will never fail to REMEMBER on this day.  Enjoy the remainder of your long weekend and know that you have that privilege because of those who paid with their lives to purchase and preserve your Freedom.

God bless you and God bless America!

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