Thank You

Tomb of the UnknownIt’s Memorial Day – a day to honor those who have fought for our freedom. I don’t come from a military family but I have friends who do. The sacrifice those families make, along with the sacrifice of the military personnel, is beyond comprehension.

I was young when the Vietnam War ended, but I heard stories of how our military were treated when they returned. Young men who were drafted into this ugly war were treated like criminals when the war ended – like they themselves had done something wrong. Were there atrocities done over there? We know there were. Should those of us back here on safe American soil, who knew nothing about what it was truly like, ever have had said anything other than thank you? No. That’s true for every war our military has fought.

I understand protesting against the government, the decision makers, the people who send our young men and women to fight battles that might not even be ours to fight. We should speak up against what we believe is wrong. But protest against those who served? Never in a thousand years will I understand that.

There is a “church” in Kansas that pickets at the funerals of soldiers, of famous people, at the Holocaust Museum. What’s sadly ironic about this tiny group of supposed-Christians is that their right to free speech is protected by the very people they picket.

Westboro Baptist protesters“On January 26, 2008, Westboro Baptist Church traveled to Jacksonville, North Carolina to protest the United States Marine Corps in the wake of the murder of Maria Lauterbach. Five women protested, stomping on the American flag and shouting slogans such as “1,2,3,4, God Hates the Marine Corps”. A group of over 40 counter-protesters arrived and one spat in Shirley Phelps-Roper‘s face. Another counter-protest was held across town, which attracted over 150 counterprotesters.”  Click here for details about the Westboro Baptist Church. (source: Wikipedia)

This is a very busy group that runs all over the country picketing and protesting, causing great anguish and turmoil wherever they go. Just think what they could do if they truly lived as Jesus did, instead of using Him as an excuse to spread their ignorance and hate.

On the flip side, the Patriot Guard Riders was formed in responsePatriot Guard Riders to protesting done by the Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals. Initially founded by motorcycle riders, the group has expanded to welcome anyone who holds a deep respect for the American military, law enforcement, fire department personnel, and first responders. As of March 2011, the group had over 200,000 members.

At the funeral, the PGR physically shelter and protect the deceased’s family from protests, singing patriotic songs to drown out the protestors, holding American flags, and setting up their motorcade to keep the protestors away. Thank you, PGR, for your work to honor our fallen heroes and protect their loved ones. I pray God will continue to bless your efforts.

Fort Snelling CemeteryIf you get a chance some time this week, stop by Fort Snelling National Cemetery and say thank you personally to the veterans you’ll meet, and to those whose final resting place is there. The history in that cemetery is amazing and humbling. I have two sets of grandparents and my mother-in-law buried there, alongside soldiers from wars past and present. (Check back here on Thursday for more details about this national cemetery.)

So from my little blog here in Minnesota, written by someone who knows next to nothing of the sacrifice involved in protecting our country both here and abroad…

…to those who have served, are serving and will serve, whether enlisted or drafted, all I can say is:

I can never repay you, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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