Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sons and Sacrifice

This post is not about the sacrifice required to raise sons, although I could write a post about that subject! ;)

Instead, it is about the sacrifices that women have made through the years when their sons (and in recent days their daughters, too) have gone off to war. I really can't fathom how hard it must be to see a beloved son leave the comforts of home and be sent off to a horrific place in some obscure corner of the world. And how does a mother bear up under the anguish if her son is missing in action, or taken captive in a hostile land, or is killed in the line of duty and never returns home to her loving arms?

I really can't imagine this kind of heartache; although, it may be something I must face some dreary day in the future. I do have six sons, and these are very uncertain times . . .

I do know a dear homeschooling mom of many who has faced this worst-case scenario with her oldest son, Jaron, and I have been encouraged to witness how God has given her grace in the midst of her suffering. Yet, I know that she has given the ulitmate sacrifice for her country.

My two oldest sons recently wrote essays that deal with the tremendous sacrifices that our nation's sons have made. One was chosen to be read as part of a Veteran's Day program for his school. I'm proud of both boys and their essays and their willingness to serve their country in some capacity in the future.

The Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia is across the Potomac River from Washington DC.

The Essays:

In May 1943, the day after my grandfather turned 18, he joined the navy, eager to fight for his country. He was assigned to the USS Calhoun, a destroyer in the Pacific, where he proceeded to spend his time chasing down enemy subs. My grandfather was there at Iwo Jima. He witnessed the now famous scene of the American flag being raised over the battle weary island. At Okinawa, my grandfather’s ship was attacked by a kamikaze and sunk. My grandfather survived by the grace of God and returned home to tell his story.

My grandfather knew sacrifice. He was a part of “The greatest generation,” a generation which understood and thrived on sacrifice. This generation of Americans lived through the Great Depression and through two world wars. They gave up many things and endured many hardships in service to their country.

My great – great –great –great –great –great grandfather, John Hart understood sacrificing for his country. He was one of the delegates present at the Second Continental Congress. Then, at 62 years of age, he was one of the 55 men who signed the Declaration of Independence. He risked everything for our country. His house was burned and his possessions were confiscated by the British. His family had to flee to the mountains. He gave everything he had for his country.

My great uncle also fought for our country in the Vietnam War. When he was deployed to Vietnam, he had to leave his wife and two kids at home to fend for themselves. He spent a year over in South Vietnam fighting the Vietcong, during which time he experienced the horrors of war and suffered great mental anguish. When he returned home from his tour of duty, people looked down on him for fighting in this controversial war. He sacrificed his time with his family, his personal comforts, and his reputation, just so he could fight for his country. He knew sacrifice.
My relatives, as well as many other great men and women fought bravely for our country. They sacrificed their personal freedoms in order to fight for the freedom of their fellow Americans. John F. Kennedy summed up this idea in his famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

Sacrifice. That is what my relatives understood and demonstrated. Their patriotic example has led me to want to serve our country. Now, I want to do my part and complete a term in the military and contribute to keeping our country free. After serving in the military, I eventually want to run for political office, so I can continue to do my part for my country. Whether or not these dreams materialize, I know that whatever my profession, I will find a way to make America better, because I now understand what has taken me 18 years to grasp: the importance of sacrifice.

-- written by Taylor Ours, age 18, November 2008
America is a nation born out of great sacrifice. The sacrifices of American men and women throughout the history of this glorious nation are unprecedented. Many have relinquished the comforts of America to serve this nation in various ways; however, those men and women that have given their lives for our nation have displayed the ultimate sacrifice. This essay is intended to portray the awesomeness of this sacrifice; however, only the families or veterans who have lost a loved one through the line of duty know the true greatness of the ultimate sacrifice.

This sacrifice has been displayed through the dedicated lives of heroic men and women. The epitome of true sacrifice is George Washington, who in the War for Independence used his own resources to feed and clothe His soldiers, which is exemplary of a true patriot. The men that served during this time were some of the most valiant men in history. Most of them had no shoes and scanty clothes in the torturous winter at Valley Forge, yet they fought heroically throughout this war.

Surprisingly, women even fought in this war, although it was outlawed by the government. They cared enough about the future of America to risk a dishonorable discharge and disgrace to serve this great nation. The sacrifice of these women is inspiring. Yet even others gave their lives for our nation and willingly made the ultimate sacrifice.

In later years, during the World Wars, thousands of men and women gave their life abroad to keep American soil safe. From storming the beaches of Normandy, to sinking battleships in the pacific, American armed forces displayed true valor as they defended both the rest of the world and the US from ruthless dictators. And again men and women made the ultimate sacrifice, while giving their lives for freedom.

During the First World War a man by the name of Alvin York showed remarkable bravery. In the midst of trench warfare his company was ordered to capture a strategic ridge covered with machine gun nests. However, this was a very challenging task and his company was being routed, until he courageously alleviated the situation with remarkable marksmanship. He worked his way behind the enemy lines and killed or captured any man that was still on that ridge. His bravery was rewarded with the highest military honors and, through it all, he showed huge sacrifice risking his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

The same sacrifices are being made today as men and women are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other nations around the world to preserve our freedom. Many have already made the Ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for freedom. Yet, all of America’s armed forces are daily making sacrifices to give Americans the freedom that they so often take for granted. Americans cannot afford to continue to take their freedom for granted; because it was bought with the blood of their fellow Americans, who made the Ultimate sacrifice.

-- written by Joshua Ours, age 16, October 2008


Laurel said...

THANK YOU ... for the wonderful post.

My eldest son served 2 1/2 years in Iraq. No, it is not easy for the family. He is home now, and planning a wedding. But, there were many nights that I lay in bed wondering if he would make it home.

I have 6 more sons coming up ... on the one hand, I pray that they won't be called to serve ... on the other hand, I couldn't be more proud of my eldest for his willingness to serve his country.

When God calls ... my children follow. My eldest is home from Iraq, but I currently have children living in Jordan, Germany, and Argentina. God has called them each to leave the comforts of home, and to serve him throughout the world.

I have raised up my children to follow God's call ... whether it is into missions, or the military, or somewhere closer to home.


mama of 13

busymomof10 said...

Thanks for sharing, Laurel! I love what you said about raising your children to follow God's call -- wherever it may lead! How exciting that you have children serving Him all over the world!

I have the same vision, which is why we named our homeschool Bright Arrows Academy. My vision is to shoot our arrows out of our home to the targets that God has for them.

Still, practically speaking, it must be hard to let them all go and to know you won't see them often. The day to day reality is never as glamourous as the Ideal!!

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