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Bob Tamasy: Lest We Forget, It's Another Memorial Day

  • Monday, May 27, 2024
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Recently I received a fund appeal letter about the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. I didn’t know there was such a thing. But the correspondence touched something deep inside since my father served in that war, both in Europe and North Africa. He was wounded twice in combat, receiving two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and other commendations.

My dad never spoke of his wartime memories – most veterans don’t. Contrary to what old war movies portrayed, emphasizing the camaraderie of fighting alongside fellow soldiers, war is a terrifying experience most wish they could forget. I remember Dad occasionally would wake up screaming due to nightmares in which battlefield images had resurfaced.

I never served in the military but have often said my father’s 22 years in the Army were enough time for us both. So, each Memorial Day I reflect not only on his service but also on the millions who have served and defended our nation, our Constitution, and our way of life through the centuries.

War has been a tragic constant throughout human history, and our nation was born at war. The Revolutionary War was the first of many wars in which the United States would engage. It was succeeded by the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and now conflicts in the Middle East.

In all, more than 1.3 million people serving the U.S. armed forces have lost their lives in combat, with countless thousands of others suffering serious wounds physically, mentally and emotionally. We owe a huge debt to each of these individuals for what we commonly refer to as “the ultimate sacrifice.”

War is detestable, and most of us wish they all would cease. Sadly, the sinfulness and brokenness of humankind have not allowed that to occur. In Ezekiel 13:10 we read about God condemning false prophets, “Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace.” Strife, rather than peace, has been universal.

The biblical narrative does not whitewash human history, recounting how greed and the lust for power have kept various peoples at war. It does, however, promise a day when all that will end. “Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire” (Psalm 46:8-9).

Nearing the end of His earthly ministry and just hours from betrayal that culminated in His crucifixion, Jesus Christ told His followers, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus was primarily making reference to His own impending death, but the principle applies to anyone giving his or her life on behalf of others. This certainly applies to the many we remember on this Memorial Day.

Thankfully, my father survived the horrors of the battlefield, but many did not. Let’s pause for a few moments today in gratitude to those who died for the freedoms we now enjoy. Even more, let’s be thankful for the One who said, “I am the good shepherd…I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:14). Let us never forget.

* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is btamasy@comcast.net.

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