May 20, 2020 | by Laura Horner
Each Memorial Day, as I reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, I think about a young mother, a tiny baby boy, and a brave Marine named Shane. I never met Shane, but I first heard about him and his family almost 16 years ago.
We had recently moved to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, where my husband was stationed. Late one evening, I watched the local news. A report came on that gripped me immediately: a young marine wife had just given birth at the same military hospital where I was due to have my first child in a few days.
The reporter’s face fell as he spoke about the new baby boy’s father, a Marine named Shane who served in Fallujah, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Shane had died in Fallujah just 30 minutes prior to his son, Shane Jr. being born in Nebraska.
The new mother, April, did not receive the news of her husband’s death for 16 hours. During that time, April rested and snuggled her brand new baby boy, while eagerly awaiting a phone call from her husband. April was so excited to tell him that their baby boy had been born a little bit prematurely, but that he was healthy. Instead, Marines dressed in their service uniforms and, accompanied by the base chaplin, came to her hospital room. There they told the new mother that her husband had died within the same hour her son was born.
As I watched, I thought, “This man gave up everything — all to defend our country.”
A year later, I had the opportunity to meet April and Shane Jr., at a playgroup on base. I had the chance to thank her and to listen to her talk about the incredible person Shane was.
Memorial Day is a time to reflect, share, and remember all those who gave their lives to defend our freedom. Our freedom stands on the shoulders of the brave men and women who raised their right hands and promised to protect us from all enemies both foreign and domestic. The people who died doing this were each loved by some one, — and still chose to give everything for us to have the opportunity to live in a country that is free and safe.
Although this day is not historically about each and every active duty person serving or our veterans, I would still like to express my most sincere thank you to all that serve or have served our country. Thank you, because we can no longer personally thank those who have passed away. So in their honor, we remember them, we share their stories, and thank their families.
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"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
My first cousin, Teddy Fischer, served with the U.S. Army in Viet Nam. During his annual leave, he became engaged to be married and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour with a changed heart. Upon returning to Viet Nam, he was on a patrol when he spied a sniper in the trees. He fell on his buddy to shield him, and in doing so, was shot and killed by the sniper. His friend survived.
~ Karen Wiener
My uncle, Mac Brown, (my mother's brother) was on the troop transport ship, The Dorchester, along with 900 servicemen, crossing the North Atlantic from Newfoundland to the American base in Greenland. After midnight on the February 3, 1942, the ship was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine - it took only 27 minutes for the ship to go down in the frigid waters. Four men - the ship’s chaplains – distinguished themselves by directing the men to life boats, passing out and giving up their own life preservers, and praying with the men. Only 229 men survived. Their heroic actions have been chronicled in the book, Sea of Glory, by Ken Wales and David Poling. Find article here.
~ Mac Wiener
Looking for something to do over the Memorial Day weekend? Why not visit a cemetery? We like to visit cemeteries, not only to remember our loved ones who are buried there but also to look for names of other people we've known over the years. Former church members, neighbors, friends, parents of our friends (people who helped raise us...), people who sacrificed and built the institutions we grew up in (churches, schools), and people who served and sacrificed for our freedoms. It can be sobering but also inspiring to see so many familiar names and to stir so many fond memories of people who have, often unknowingly, impacted our lives.
~ Doug & Beth Bardolph