Fallen heros remembered

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeff Laible
  • Chaplain, 183rd Fighter Wing
      The annual Fallen Hero's ceremony took place at Camp Lincoln on May 4, 2013. Gathering at the historic State Military Museum, families, friends, military personnel, and others took time to remember the sacrifices that these brave airmen and soldier's made on behalf of our nation. The month of May, particularly Memorial Day weekend, is a sacred time for all of us to pause and honor all Veterans who have served, and in particular those who died in service to our nation.
     Having participated in numerous Memorial Day ceremonies over the years, I am deeply honored when I am invited to offer an invocation or perhaps some words of reflection. To stand before a crowd of people knowing that some have lost loved ones, while others suffer silently from the visible or invisible wounds of war, is humbling. Behind every face in the crowd there is a story: a relationship that was forged in good times with the Airman, Soldier, Sailor or Marine before the deployment - and a relationship that was significantly changed by injury and/or death.
     There is an inherent danger in a military mission. Whether in peace-time or in support of combat operations, military members put themselves at a far greater risk of injury (and sometimes death) than most other professions. We know the risk is there; we accept the risk as part of our commitment to serve our nation and our world. Yet, knowing the risk that we take on does not lessen the sense of loss when a comrade dies.
     Having observed our annual Memorial Day events this past weekend, honoring those who have served with distinction, and especially those who died in service to our country, our hearts are filled with gratitude for their service. Even while our 2013 Memorial Day services have concluded, our memories, thoughts and prayers for our fallen comrades are alive and lead us to reflect on these words: "Almighty God, make us aware of your presence and of all those who have served our country with distinction. Deal graciously with their family and friends, giving them comfort and consolation. Finally, make us and all generations to follow deeply grateful for their selfless sacrifice. Inspired by their example, may we set aside selfish ambition and dedicate ourselves to the noble cause of freedom and peace. In Your Holy Name, we pray. AMEN."