Memorial Day is a wonderful day for gratitude.
Having served briefly in the U. S. Army many years ago, I had a view of men and women who serve. They are ordinary people from all walks of cultural, family, educational and employment backgrounds. They are people with dreams and expectations similar to those of any of us.
Military training and experience are great equalizers. Each participant learns to support the team for survival and progress. The missions are intended for helping others and for the greater good.
The soldiers I have known were not heroic kinds of people or the kind who would specially stand out as caring for others. Some didn’t even fit easily with others outside of military organization. However, when the time came to go to bat for others, most reached beyond ordinary response to duty even to the extent of putting their lives on the line.
Christ Jesus was once asked what the greatest commandment is, to which he answered first with the commandment given by Moses centuries earlier: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind.” And he added a second that he said is like the first: “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus was then asked “who is my neighbor?” His response was the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), a man who cared for another man of a different ethnic background after others had passed him by. This Samaritan did not just give a passing hand; he took special steps to see that the other man was fully cared for.
Caring for others is divine and a method of illustrating our love of God.
I am not saying that wars and warlike behavior are altruistic. That is a different discussion. Yet, our soldiers show a kind of caring that sets a high standard. Those who we honor on Memorial Day illustrate the depth of their caring.