Tag Archives: Veterans

Loyalty Unhinged

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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Written by Swagga4Christ Biblical Writer, Stephen A. Peterson © 2013

David O’Connor was a really good person and soldier.  A student at Father Scecina Memorial High School and later as a medic in the United States Army, he saw his work as service to his country for the greater good of humanity, and especially to the more than 200 men and women of his military unit.  David was fully committed to service at all costs and was willing to give his life in service to his country.  Evidence of David O’Connor’s commitment was observed on his desk.  He had, in a picture frame, a picture of the crucified Christ and to the right side these words:  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Christ’s words were not merely words to Sergeant David O’Connor.  They expressed his commitment to his duty as an Army leader.  A commitment he knew he might someday demand the ultimate—his life.  That day did, in fact, occur in Vietnam.

As every Christian knows, Jesus submitted himself to his words shortly after He stated them.  Unlike any person who ever lived, Jesus knew exactly what He was to experience.  It is impossible for anyone then or today to fully grasp the totality of His agony and suffering.  In recent years, biological and medical scientists have been able to reconstruct physiological information with regards to His roughly 20 hours of relentless torture without sleep, food, water or relief.

As God, Jesus could have spared Himself of the suffering, humiliation, torture.  He was without sin and did not deserve to be brought to trial.  His death was the greatest example of human injustice ever recorded in the annals of humankind.  To this day, even some Christians cannot understand Jesus’ sacrifice and death.  They ask “why”.  They believe there had to be another less painful, less humiliating way to deal with humankind’s sins.  Others have referred to His death as “altruistic suicide”, “hari-kari”, or the result of Him having humiliated the government and religious leaders of His day.  But crucifixion?  Crucifixion was reserved for the most dangerous evildoers, treasonous, murderers of the Roman state as documented by the writers of that era.

A love (agape) humankind cannot understand drove Christ to His death on the cross.  It is only through humility, faith, trust in Him, and acceptance of our human imperfections do we come to even recognize His sacrifice.  Any other approach or explanation defies reason and logic in the human mind.

 

Memorial Day 2013

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In honor of Memorial Day, please join me in solemn remembrance of the friends, family and neighbors that we have lost in defense of our freedoms and way of life, men and women who gave, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘the last, full measure of devotion’ to our country.

With thousands of men and women still serving in harm’s way, our gratitude and appreciation only continues to grow. The members of our armed forces represent our nation’s highest ideals, personifying the sacrifice and patriotism central to the American experience. The United States would not be the great nation that it is today if it were not for the courage and valor of the proud individuals who have served in defense of our values.

On this Memorial Day, as we pay tribute to those serving and to the fallen, I hope you will consider the following quote and take some time to show your appreciation to the veterans in your life and our communities:

‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’
– John F. Kennedy

Very truly yours,
Jack

Jack D. Franks
State Representative
63rd District

Easter Musings

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

4525749Below is Some Easter Musings from Military Outreach Greater Chicago

Easter is a wonderful time for Christians as we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  It’s the miracle of all miracles and the basis of our Christian faith!  When thinking about Easter, we also think about Jesus’ final hours and words to those of us here on Earth.  Looking at Jesus’ words to his disciples before His ascension and the rest of Scripture, one can see similarities regarding how Christians are called to live here on earth and what our soldiers around the world are called to do on a daily basis to protect our country.  It is interesting to see the overlap and perhaps, no one is better prepared to understand what it means to be a Christian than one of our military men or women.

  1. Longing for Home – Christians recognize that this world is not our home.  We will never feel at home here on this earth and experience a sense of longing for the day when we will join our Savior in heaven.  Our men and women serving in the Armed Forces experience a sense of homesickness every day they are away from family, friends, and the familiar surroundings they leave behind to serve our nation.  They are foreigners in a land that is not their own and one they are unfamiliar with.  They long for home.
  2. Ambassadors to Those Around Them – Our military men and women often serve as the first faces many non-Americans see and as such often are the first impression that a foreigner has of who an American is.  Likewise, Christians are called to be ambassadors of Christ, serving as a sort of first example to the people around them of who Christ is and what it means and looks like to be a Christian.
  3. Facing Difficulties and Trials – Jesus never promised us that the Christian life was going to be a picnic. It was going to be tough and filled with suffering.  Our troops go through unimaginable suffering from both visible and invisible wounds they might carry for the rest of their lives.  Both overseas and at home, our troops face unique challenges that require physical and mental fortitude.
  4. Fighting An Unseen Enemy – The Bible tells us that our struggle as Christians is not against other humans, but against spiritual forces and Satan.  Similarly, our military members are often fighting unseen enemies.  Sometimes these are people who seem friendly but are really suicide bombers.  At other times, it is the emotional and physical forces that our military personnel must wrestle with.  Our military personnel must always be ready for the unpredictable.
  5. Prepared to Fight – The Bible calls us to put on the full armor of God which will protect us against the enemy.  We are to be prepared for battle and ready to give an answer to anyone who has questions about our faith.  Likewise, our soldiers have to be constantly vigilant and prepared for battle.  They need to be properly armed and equipped to face those that seek to destroy them.

As we reflect on Easter and all that Christ accomplished for us, we should be mindful of our military members who face similar and far harder situations on a day to day basis than most of us deal with here in the United States.  Have a wonderful Easter and remember, Christ has Risen!!

General John A. Logan’s Memorial Day Order

General John A. Logan’s
Memorial Day Order
General Order
No. 11

 

Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic
Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868
I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.
By command of:
JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief.
N. P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant-General.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

I Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
On Veteran’s Day we remember and thank God for those dear men and women who have served and FOUGHT and died to protect us and our families from evil! America stands today as a nation and people of freedoms because our brave soldiers have FOUGHT to keep us free! History reveals that there is no freedom for those unwilling to fight to protect it!
Our veterans are our heroes!

These everyday Americans have borne the brunt of the hardships and sufferings of combat. From the very beginning of our nation, from the Revolutionary War through today’s conflict in Iraq, our courageous service men and women have faced enemy after enemy so we could live free!

Thank you Lord for our VETERANS!

 

Throughout the history of America, there also have been other types of “soldiers” and heroes that have supported our troops and helped to preserve our freedom. Men and women and children who have PRAYED at home, while our heroic soldiers have battled the enemy overseas. These dedicated “prayer warriors” have fought the “spiritual battles” against the satanic forces of darkness that are behind every war against freedom and against what is right!
How many of our dear fighting men and women have told true stories of having been miraculously spared from death and harm…to learn later that a loved one at home was praying for them?
How many command decisions turned into victories because Americans’ were praying? How many soldiers have been encouraged and strengthened spiritually and emotionally, and healed physically by the persevering prayers of faithful, praying people?

Today we honor our dear veterans who have so bravely served America, and we will never forget their sacrifice.
Thank you Dear Heavenly Father for our veterans and their families, and for your blessings on America.
And we also thank you Lord for the many veteran “prayer warriors,” who have “fought the good fight of faith” to support our soldiers and our nation in prayer!