In the beginning I had no thoughts on the topic I was assigned. While on a, "block break," my granddaughter sat here at my computer and entered some of her thoughts, intending to inspire me. That led me to some other feelings of my own that I added to hers. Events of this current week have increased my ideas and outline to a point that I fear loosing my reader’s interest before its conclusion.
While this writing is purposed for a writing challenge with a word count limit I believe for my own sanity it demands, of my heart, to be written. If you come across it in some section far away from the challenge area it will be because its length prevented my posting it there. My sincere prayer is that this writing will help someone, somewhere, sometime.
The world can be a fearful place sometimes. From the moment when the doctor slaps our behind to get us breathing it often feels like a cruel, fright filled existence. Remember that first day at kindergarten when you accidentally ate your lunch at morning recess, and those "scraped knees" after falling off your first bike?
For young adolescents, in the academic world, there can be bullies or peer pressure," was the sentence that my eleven-year-old Marie left on my screen. "Not getting picked for a team, clothes that may not be in style, the wrong sneaks, being judged about the shape of their body." These topics all came up as I discussed the topic of fearful with Marie and her sister Lynn. This gave me a real insight into their world.
Further discussion took us to teens, and their anxieties; zits…dating…sports…in-groups…being seen with their parents… college… WORK! Next came young adults…job…bosses… housing… marriage…kids? Followed by middle age and the unique experience of raising teenagers… health concerns…bills…life insurance…retirement planning. Last but not least, Old Age. Loosing a spouse, living with disabilities, what will happen if….
We are all fearful about something, no matter how happy a person we are. It is a part of our human nature.
As the week progressed I thought about what direction to head with this article, of what was I myself fearful of. As fate or coincidence would have it on Saturday I met a US Army lieutenant who was born in Vietnam. He came to this country at the age of seven. He lives in an area in California with the largest Vietnamese population outside of his home country. One thing he emphasized was the fact that he never heard a negative word in his new hometown concerning the role the United States played in Vietnam. The average person is grateful for what was done in their homeland by our troops. They even have an annual festival when Vietnamese and American veterans are honored.
This incident got me to thinking even further. I know deep in my heart that I owe everything that I am to Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate sacrifice to forgive my sin and provide for me eternal life in heaven. I also know, that besides a loving God who has blessed America beyond measure, I owe the deepest thanks and honor to those who for generations have fought, been wounded, and died so that every one of us could enjoy the freedom that we have living in this great country.
My personal fear, I realized, and that of countless other veterans, is that today’s youth will never understand the sacrifices that others made for the freedom that we have in America today. Just this past year veterans groups in New Jersey fought and defeated a bill to eliminate the celebration of Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day in New Jersey schools.
On a recent visit with some soldiers recovering from wounds received in the Iraq conflict I detected several common threads in their conversations. While I heard not one bitter word concerning their injuries I heard many mentions of inadequate medical care and lack of respect they received from various sources. One soldier was heard saying, "I’m old enough to fight and get hurt, why can’t they just fix me up so I can go back and finish the job"?
My fear, dear reader, is this: are we going to let the enemy that is attacking our country, like unseen termites devouring wood, continue to tear apart the very foundation on which this great land is built? I don’t care what your religious beliefs are, what your political persuasion is, or what your opinion is of the current conflict or any other that this country becomes involved it. This country was founded on Biblical principals. It grew great by its citizens working together. It is "The Land of the Free" because so many paid the "Price" for us to be free.
Please join me in work and prayer for our country. Teach our children the how, the who, and the why of this great land. Let them know of the sacrifices of their forefathers. Tell them of those who suffered and are suffering for their freedom. Teach them to respect and honor and pray for those who give their all to protect our way of life. If we don’t do this no-body will.
Our troops need and deserve our respect and our prayers. If our government fails in meeting their needs in any way we must be the ones to see to it that these needs are met. "This Land is our Land." "We the People" need to preserve and protect it and those who keep it free. If we don’t do our part, one day, God’s light may no longer shine on our land. That, my friends, is what I am fearful about.