"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come."
For the average Joe Public there are likely three main events of World War II that come first to mind: the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and FDR’s famous “Shall Live in Infamy” speech; D-Day on June 6, 1944; and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945.
This weekly devotional is written on the anniversary of D-Day.
In my home growing up, we paused to each June 6 to remember the sacrifices of so many who stormed the beaches, parachuted behind enemy lines, and otherwise played such a crucial role in turning the tide of World War II.
My grandfather was one of the many men who stormed the beaches that day and one of the few who survived.
He rarely talked of his time in the service. He met my grandmother while waiting in England and after the war brought her to the US to be married.
My grandfather was a quiet and unassuming man. Graduated valedictorian of his class and started several businesses before going into the war including building windmills and working lumber. When he returned home from the war, he again started a successful plumbing business with his brother which he eventually sold out of.
My grandfather had a secret room he would retreat to for hours when the anxiety would get too much. He would sit in there busying his mind with books, pouring over stamps, and other activities alone.
He needed to withdraw often and in many cases for long periods of times.
I was with him as a young boy with my dad and uncle as he passed away. He was still remembering all those horrible hours on his beach at Normandy.
My grandfather was but one of thousands of men and women who stepped forward when their nation called. He wasn’t any more special than anyone else but he was one of my heroes. He still is even so many years after he died.
Our scripture reading today Jesus is reminding us in his conversation with his disciples the inevitability of war and yet still the certainty of our faith in Jesus.
Our nation has lost so many amazing young people to violence and war while many of those who survive continue to struggle with the horrors and trauma of war.
I saw first hand as a chaplain in the Army how difficult war is on those who serve. Let’s pause today on this sacred day of remembrance and also every day to give thanks for the sacred few who not only answered their call to defend our nation but also those who paid for that sacrifice with their lives. May we remember them not just in our thoughts and prayers but with our actions and our attitudes. Let us not forget the courage and bravery of those who serve and may we fight for them as hard as they have all fought for us.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
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