From the Pastor's Heart
As I think of Memorial Day, it is always with a sense of both gratitude and sorrow. As an American citizen, I am extremely thankful for the tremendous sacrifices that have been made for almost 250 years of our history. When you break down the numbers of deaths by war, they are staggering.
Civil War - 620,000
World War II - 405,399
World War I - 116,516
Vietnam War - 58,209
Korean War - 36,516
American Revolutionary War - 25,000
War of 1812 - 20,000
Mexican-American War - 13,283
War on Terror (2001-present) - 7,075
These are just fatalities alone. They do not include the injuries, physical and mental disabilities and cases of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) that followed those who survived. While we can look at numbers and easily view them as statistics, we often miss the human factor. When we think of our own family and friends who have served, it becomes a little more personal.
My grandfather’s brother, Mr. William “Bump” Savage fought in the Battle of the Bulge (1944-1945) in Luxembourg during World War II. The soldiers endured brutal cold temperatures and tried to eat frozen horses in order to keep from starving. My father’s cousin, Clarence “Bud” Gladden was shot at the Battle of Iwo Jima in Japan in 1945. He was blessed to survive. Exmore Baptist lost one of its own, Sgt. Warren Lee Scanlan, Jr. in Cambodia during the Vietnam War on May 21, 1970. He was married to our own Mary Doughty.
Many more stories could be told of heroism, sacrifice and lost loved ones. While we enjoy our holiday festivities, may we always remember that freedom was not free. It was bought with the price of blood even as our eternal salvation was bought with the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 9:22) “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13
~ Pastor Carpenter