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Corporals and Privates

June 26, 2013

Tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, Author Andrew Bossi (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)

The “greatest generation” is a term journalist, Tom Brokaw, popularized in his book by the same name.  The term refers to the men and women raised during the Depression who went on to fight World War II, in great and obscure battlefields across the globe and on the home front.

That generation, rapidly fading now, was defined by the obstacles it faced.  Too often, the generations since – however we may label them – have been defined by self-indulgence, greed, apathy, and the harm they will leave behind.

Wars may be won or lost by weapons and generals.  Those with servicemen and servicewomen in their families know it is the corporals and privates who bleed.  They are standing guard in nameless locations even now.  Ever vigilant, willing to give their lives for ours.

Corporals and privates.  They set a humbling standard…for those of us who will take the time to notice, at any rate.

Their lesson to us – in this great spiritual battle, in which we are engaged – is that an individual’s actions matter.  We may not know the Lord’s full plan.  We may not be called on to sacrifice our lives for others.  But our courage, our fortitude, our faithfulness matter.

Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in” (Is. 26: 2).

Lord God, so often we fall short, but we daily struggle to serve You.  The battle rages on all fronts – in the classroom, in the courtroom, in the capitol, on foreign shores, and on our own streets.  We hardly know which way to turn.

You have granted us this tremendous heritage of freedom, bought at so dear a price.  We are reminded that our Salvation was, also, bought at a dear price.

Keep us true to the ideals on which this nation was founded.  Help us remember that freedom is never free.

And bless our troops, Lord.  May we live up to their high standard.



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