“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NIV
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton
And I thank the families of the veterans. I was married to a sailor during the Viet Nam War and I know how hard it is to not hear from your loved one for weeks, to count every penny because the salary is so low, to be a mom and a dad at the same time, to have crowds throw things at you and your family with the ugliest words. Loneliness isn’t a stranger.
And the parents, spouses, children and friends who no longer have their loved ones. They didn’t choose this. They didn’t volunteer for this.
Some veterans lost their legs, arms, suffered brain trauma or PTSD. Some died from addictions to soothe their weary and war-torn souls. May they have peace beyond understanding.
I thank all of you with a full heart.
May I close with this:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910