Veterans Day has come and gone. I attended a very moving ceremony today. Ryan Crocker, the ambassador to Iraq, was the speaker. Generals from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and the U.S. lay wreaths to commemorate the fallen.
I have conducted many funerals and memorial services of Soldiers since this war began. I remember picking up a book in the bookstore once that contained the last letters written home by many Soldiers and Marines. In it, I recognized the names of many of those for whom I conducted services. I’m sure the other people in the bookstore wondered why someone would have tears in his eyes as he browsed through the shelves. I should have bought the book, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it then. I don’t know that I could now, either.
I don’t think that it is wrong to mourn the fallen, but Patton captured something that we need to remember when he said this: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
The soldiers with whom I serve are, for the most part, quiet, unassuming, ordinary people who are willing to lay down their lives for their comrades. We should thank God that such people continue to live.