Memorial Day … How Great A Debt. | The Grace Between

Memorial Day … How Great A Debt.

It’s the day after Memorial Day. {I am a wee bit late … it’s been tough going on the pregnant front these days.} But I do have something to say …

It’s profoundly personal for me. I have written about Jaime here, here, and here. Please, I would love for you to know her {the J Girl is named for her.}

But here, I just want to say this.

My great-great-great grandfather was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Recently, a stack of letters written by him to his family was found in a dusty attic in North Carolina.

In his last letter, thought to be written to his parents and penned six days prior to the end of the War, he wrote the following:

“I can hardly keep from shedding tears to think of giving up this plot of country after having defended it so long. So much blood has been shed in defending it. Our country is in deep mourning for the blood shed round this city. Is it all in vain?”

On the opposite side of the same conflict, in a letter written to his wife on the eve of the battle of Bull Run, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote the following …

“I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .”

He died a week later.

Both men fought hard for what they believed in.

And I look at the flag all bleeding red and glowing white, I see it draped over coffins lined up in the belly of industrial aircraft, I still see it in my dreams through the veil of tears I wore on a difficult day in January of 2006, and I know my own bleeding heart for the ones I love who died fighting … No, it is not in vain.

This currency of lives and loves lost and sacrifice … it can never be forgotten, devalued. 

1.3 million plus American service men and women have paid with their lives since the birth of this country. We are, we should be a Gold Star nation at heart, built on the backs of sacrifice, courage, and conviction. 

Not perfect, far from perfect. But still, still worth fighting for.

Never forget. 

~M.

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