Remembering...Such Sacrifice

I realize I'm late getting this up today, but I don't want the day to go by without posting this. This was written by my pastor and dear friend, Chaplain (col) Larry McCarty, who serves as a chaplain in the US army. I asked his permission to post it here. I cried as I read it, and I wanted to share. So no more from me. Read what Larry had to say.

Last week was a good week but a very sad one. President Bush came to (Fort) Bragg for the 82nd Airborne Division Pass and Review. He then participated in the Division Memorial Service. I was able to be at both events.

A few images are burned into my mind. On Thursday morning The President reviewed the 15,000 plus troops and then headed back to the podium. Everybody stood up to get a good look. I noticed one little boy who could not see due to the crowd and the fence. As the President passed by I picked the boy up so that he could get a good look. The boy was so appreciative. He gave me a hug and then he said, "Thanks daddy can't pick me up anymore...he died in Irag." I watched him as he walked over to his mother. She had a photo of her husband pinned on her dress. She smiled at me and said thank you...That is a smile I will always remember. Such Sacrifice

At the Memorial Ceremony I sat and watched as families of fallen troops laid flowers at the War Memorial. (Division lost 119 Paratroopers last year) It was probably one of the saddest events I have ever been a part of. The young man who sat next to me was a Wounded Warrior. He had asked to be released from Walter Reed Hospital to come and lay a flower for his buddy who was killed during the same incident that had wounded him. As the young man stood up to drop his flower I was able to see the extent of his wounds. His whole right side hung limp. He walked with a cane and had a serious injury to his face. He was about 19 years old. Such Sacrifice

On Friday evening Robin and I went back over to the War Memorial. The crowds were too large the day before and we wanted to get a closer look. As I walked to the new edition of the monument, the name engraved at the top of the monument jumped out at me. It was SPC Micheal Juanrique. I kew the name well. Last June I had traveled to Texas City, Texas to minister to the family and be a part of the honor guard as he was laid to rest. I remember sitting by the kitchen table listening to the stories the family shared about Micheal. Stories of his love for soccer, race cars and seafood. Stories of dedication about how he wanted to serve his he wanted to make a difference. He was 22 years old. Such Sacrifice.

So why do I write?... Writing helps me make some sense of it all. Writing my friends and family helps me believe that I am making a difference. Writing helps me focus on these eternal truths: "Freedom is not free". "Some prices are so high that they can only be paid for in blood". The blood of the Patriot is the seed of freedom's tree." We must remember!...because people tend to forget.

When all is said and done and we too are laid to rest...may it be said of us: He lived for something bigger than himself. He was a man, she was a woman that made a difference in the world. We can go through this life in our own self-centered, self absorbed cocoon or we can choose to risk, to go the extra mile, to Sacrifice. May we choose the road less traveled.


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