Nation should remember those who made sacrifices

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

Gen. John Alexander Logan first thought up the idea to set aside one day to honor Civil War dead.

May 30, 1868, was the first Memorial Day to honor those who had died in battle by remembering them and decorating their graves.

On this Memorial Day, I cannot help but contemplate the sacrifice of those in my own family who served proudly with the military.

I have heard about Charlie’s grandfather as a young 21-year-old marching across France in World War I. One particular time he told us that they were marching at night. Only as dawn came, he was then able to see the toll of death as troops who had gone before them lay dead in the countryside all around him.

In Washington, D.C., Charlie, Buffy and I viewed the World War II memorial and I saw those pillars to the 50 States and thought of the family members that were touched by the loss of life.

I hear my mother’s story about her and three other young brides during World War II who drove one night to Little Rock to the train station because they heard the troop train was coming through town carrying soldiers back from basic training and on to their new army base.

They were in hopes of seeing my father and their young husbands one last time as they were on their way to “destination unknown.” Mother said that the four young brides ran up to the train when it briefly stopped in Little Rock and shouted their husbands’ names.

Word passed through the cars. … “Any one know Carl Scott?” In a few minutes, my Daddy jumped out to embrace my mother and she had a good 15 minutes with him, there at the train station before be was taken to another army base and an uncertain future.

I listened to stories of the war from my Uncle Keith who was an infantryman stationed in Italy in World War II. He was so cold at times that he would dig a hole in the earth and get in it and fill it with dirt to keep warm.

I salute my brother-in-law who served a very difficult tour in Vietnam and his first cousin who lost two legs and an arm due to a land mine in Vietnam. I appreciate the courage of our nephew who parachuted by night into Afghanistan to carry out his duty there.

I pay tribute to my friends who have sons and husbands serving in Iraq. I want to honor all those thousands I do not even know but who are serving and those families who have lost loved ones in military service.

Our nation should never forget. We should revere and respect all veterans who have served so we all might reap the magnificent benefits of freedom. Those benefits have come with a great sacrifice, and I pray we don’t take lightly the sacrifice.

Patriotism is a powerful concept and has great significance in our country. Patriotism is vital because it echoes who we are as a nation and where we have come as a nation. It is imperative that the generations that follow us understand the traditions, memories and emotions that constitute our patriotism. That is essential for us as a country.

Joshua commanded the Hebrew children to always make sure their children remember (Joshua 4) and to teach children about their heritage

These are critical days in our country. We must teach our children to remember the sacrifices of those who fought and are fighting for freedom. They must know about the past so they can appreciate what they have in the present.