Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beyond the Call of Duty

I have been thinking about Military families recently. The horrible events at Fort Hood, the long and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the observance of Veterans Day has kept these dear families in my thoughts and prayers of late.

What we ask of our Military families is far beyond the call of duty - it is not just the multiple deployments to far away hostile places but the toll all of this takes on their families. Spouses suffer with loneliness and children are often missing a parent for months and even years at a time. The stress and strain of it all must be an incredible burden to bear.

Fort Hood is a huge operation - more than 50,000 people in this military community and base. The signs of stress are everywhere. One sad reality is that so far this year there have been numerous suicides at Fort Hood. Our military families need support, encouragement, mental health care, and spiritual direction - I can only imagine the difficultly that they face. I have them on my daily prayer list.

When my Dad was drafted into the Army during WWII he was already 24 years old and had two kids and one on the way. No one wanted to go into the service less than my Dad, but he answered the call to duty and gave it his all. He was trained as a Medic and worked in a Military Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The hospital was in one of the large hotels that had been transformed into a medical facility during the war. I remember him telling me about all those boys coming back without legs, arms, eyes, and many more suffering from post-traumatic stress - many of his patients were put on suicide watch as soon as they checked into the facility. The stress was there in the 1940's just as it is in 2009. The strain on my Mother must have been unbelievable - a young Mom with two little girls and expecting the third child.

We owe these families more than just a nod of appreciation on Veterans Day - they need our daily prayers, our support, and our love. And when they get home, and God speed the day, we need to help them build good lives and healthy families.

A friend of mine has a Son and a Daughter in the Army - both are graduates of West Point - her Son has been to Iraq twice, the daughter will soon be in Afghanistan. Every day for this Mom is a prayer meeting - she and God talk daily, I know.

Let's join her in spending much time in prayer for these who give beyond the call of duty.

Just thinking, Steve

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