Saturday, January 30, 2016
Honor and Sacrifice
Today I led a memorial service for the father of a good friend of mine. I was able to share some memories and hopefully bring some comfort and hope in a difficult time. Personally, I felt the most powerful part of the service happened after I was done speaking. The gentleman we were honoring was an Air Force veteran and had been a POW. Three members of the Air Force were in attendance and played “Taps” before presenting the flag to his widow. The words spoken to her were, "On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for faithful and dedicated service."
I was moved deeply by the honor and tradition of this act. It may have been a simple gesture to some, but I appreciated the recognition of years of sacrifice and service in allegiance to one’s country. The ceremony spoke of solemn gratitude for a soldier’s willingness to fight for freedom even if it was many years ago. It reminded me of the incredible commitment of so many men and women and the bond they share of having been in our military. This said to me, “We have not forgotten what you have done for all of us.”
There is great honor in genuine sacrifice and it should be recognized. Failure to appreciate these acts doesn’t negate what has been done, but diminishes our understanding of courage in action.