Monday, May 25, 2009

Bring Him Home

This song has long been a family favorite but I had a particularly moving experience today while watching our traditional National Memorial Day Concert. Colm Wilkinson, the classic Broadway Jean Valjean, performed this song in a different setting. He is older now, grayer, more wrinkled, yet maintains the beautiful control and emotional captivation in his voice. For me he does more than perform this song, for a moment he becomes it. He sang this song surrounded by the names of fallen soldiers and in the presence of veterans,wounded soldiers and families. It overwhelmed me. To think of one willing to give their life for another. The thought that so many have already done that for me. The selfless pleading to God to spare someone else. The undeserving grace bestowed upon us from earthly and heavenly beings.

I am grateful to have been able to visit the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. After viewing a stirring video of eye witness accounts you begin walking through fields of photos of soldiers, reading their stories and feeling of the tragedies. It is probably the closest I have felt to understanding what war must be like and feeling at least a bit of what sacrifice has been made. While walking from one section to the next you walk down a bridge like structure and immediately find yourself facing this picture in a larger than life size.

It took my breath away. It actually felt like we were one of them on the boats, getting ready to jump off and face the shore of D-Day at Normandy. I didn't want to walk any further.

I wonder if they knew what was facing them? I almost wanted to yell out, "don't get off"! And although real life would've been in color, I imagine it felt much like this picture, dark and desperate-lacking the joys and color of life- bleak, unforgiving, black and white war. Of course we know this moment to be many soldiers last, as they walked into horror on the death filled shoreline.

They say we thank our fallen heros by living each day in gratitude, recognizing the precious gift of life and freedom. To those heros: thank you... today and always, I pray to be worthy of that gift you have given me at such a high cost.

American War Heroes Tribute

Because we all need to take a few minutes to contemplate the high cost paid for the freedom we enjoy