Following an invocation by Rev. Sam Tate, retired U.S. Navy and U.S. Army veteran Cleve Jacobs, read “The Path of the Warrior,” a Memorial Day tribute first published in 2009 by the Humanity Healing Network.
“In every society,” he read, “there are many callings: teacher, caregiver, statesman. Of these, the path of the warrior is one of the more difficult. It is the hardest of the paths of service. Throughout history, warriors have been called upon to protect their families, their communities and their country, to fight for others’ safety and freedom, knowing that this path of service may include their life and the suffering of their loved ones. The path of the warrior requires the qualities of courage, commitment and resilience. The courage to face the horror and brutality of war, the commitment to leave your loved ones behind to make sure they will remain safe, and the resilience to keep your humanity in the face of inhumanity. Politics and public opinion ebb and flow like the ocean’s tide, but the path of the warrior is steadfast. He understands duty and honor. No one desires peace more than the warriors and their families, for they know the cost of war.”
Jacobs then went on to quote Douglas MacArthur, who said, “The soldier, above all people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds of war.”
“They know,” Jacobs continued, “that freedom has never been free, that the price of freedom has always been the blood of the warrior. These warriors have never sought war, but never flinched when their country called them. Memorial Day is the day we pay our respects to those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘gave the last full measure of devotion. It is through their actions that we enjoy the blessings of liberty. It is through the tears of their families that we have the freedoms we often take for granted. To the men and women of the armed forces, we send our sincere gratitude. May God bless and keep you safe until you are once more in the arms of your loved ones. Our heartfelt thanks to the men and women of the armed forces and their families whose sacrifices have enabled us to enjoy the blessings of freedom.”
And to those who gave all, he concluded, “God speed, and may he prepare a special place in his kingdom for you.”
Doug Hill, U.S. Air Force retired, then placed a wreath on the monument, and Gail Perkins sang the National Anthem before leading the crowd in two verses of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Tate gave the benediction, and Jeff Wood played “Taps” at the conclusion of the ceremony.
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