May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Reflections…

I attended a military school for five years. As a cadet corps, we stood at attention each day at the raising and the lowering of the flag. Often I felt chills as I faced the red, white and blue. I am a patriot. I do not believe other peoples and nations are less than us in terms of intrinsic value but I do believe God shed His grace on this great land and people. We are, in a foundational sense, a nation that has worshipped the God of the Bible. Because of that, for example, we are a nation that has been a first responder to human need around the world. Our Judeo-Christian worldview calls us to serve others. We are a giving nation, and a forgiving nation. What other nation compares?

When I saluted the flag, I felt that deep in my soul. Because I am proud of this nation’s past greatness does not mean I have a demeaning view of other nations. As I often say at the conferences, “Because I am saying something positive about your sons, I am not saying something negative about your daughters.” Because I am saying something wonderful about our country, I am not denouncing other nations.

On this Memorial Day will you permit me to feel chills in the face of the flag? Will you permit me to feel this way because of the giving and forgiving this nation has demonstrated? Will you allow me to shed a tear, many tears, over those brave men and women who sacrificed their blood so that I could live free?

Not long ago I received an email from the Mother of one of our brave soldiers. I’m sure it will move you deeply, as it did me, so I share it today in honor of all our military personnel and their families.

Your conference first hit home to me in regards to my son enlisting in the military. I knew it was his goal when he finished high school, but secretly hoped he would change his mind when the time came. He didn't change his mind, and though I support
ed his decision, part of me was offended. I thought, "Doesn't he love us? Why does he want to leave us? Doesn't he love his home, his church? Doesn't he care about staying connected to us here? Why does he want to go away?"

Your conference made me realize that it is honor, duty and responsibility that drove him to do what he did. He needed to do that respectable thing as a man, to serve and protect. As military mothers, we need to respect our sons as men. They have chosen to do the honorable thing - to serve.

My son was killed in Iraq 1 year and 3 months after he left our home for boot camp. He knew it could happen, and so did I. I thank the Lord for young men who continue to step up to do the honorable, respectable thing of serving in the military. Abe enlisted in the Marines to protect us no matter what the cost. Thank you for helping me to understand the beautiful heart that God gave to my son.

Maria Simpson, California

Marine Lance Corporal Abraham Simpson, eldest son of Jim and Maria Simpson, formerly of the Fullerton assembly, was killed in action in Fallujah in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on November 9, 2004. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

For more on Abe Simpson: Click Here

Truly, the respect message enabled Maria to realize her son Abe’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain but that as a man of honor he did the noble thing. This message of Respect partially explains, redeems and dignifies the loss of her son. His death turns into an act of honor rather than just the loss of a Beloved Son. As with Jesus, it is more than a horrible death but a magnanimous offering. It is less about the vice of those who caused his death and more about his virtue in dying.

When you see the American flag this Memorial Day weekend remind yourself of the grace that God has shed on this great land, and remind yourself of those many men and women who have shed their blood for us.



Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Powerful words. Deeply moving. You have my permission to honour your country and your flag. :)

Kurt Michaelson said...

As a Marine myself, I can relate to what this means, to serve with honor and it is a wonderful story that really puts this learning experience (the Love & Respect Marriage Conference) into greater perspective.

Lisa Gaylord said...

Beautiful husband & I both love your Love & Respect Seminar!

Laura Clayton said...

Thank you so much for that. My husband is deployed for a year, until August of 2012. We have three boys and a girl, ages five, three, two, and one that I am raising alone. Our oldest will be six for just a month when he is back. I just read this and I really appreciate the attention you paid to this issue, I had a struggle a couple years ago when he reenlisted.

I have been keeping him involved in decisions and their lives and what is going on with me and making sure he still takes the place as leader of the family. Because of this, he has actually stepped up more than he did while he was here. Just today I got three roses with a heart around the vase that said in his voice I love you and miss you miss you miss you muah. Part of what the card said was "so you can hear my voice when I am away." It amazes me that God brought this man into my life and I've read half of your book already but I will be starting it again with a spouse who's husband is deployed with mine. Thank you for your words here.

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