Not Forgotten: Honoring Our Veterans

Veterans    Veterans2

The time: September, 1966. I was on a bus with a bunch of other guys being taken an hour or two away from home to be evaluated for fitness for the military. The Vietnam war was going hot and heavy, and I feel confident only a few of the fellows on that bus actually wanted to be there.

I sure didn’t.

I was supposed to be attending my first day of classes at Frostburg State College (now University), but how was I supposed to know I’d needed to inform my draft board that my recent graduation from junior college hadn’t ended my education?

The whole idea of my being drafted was ridiculous, anyhow. Not only am I truly colorblind—the examining physicians didn’t believe me—I’d  been excused from participating in contact sports in phys. ed. ever since my encephalitis in the eighth grade. Because I was taking thyroid medicine, they held me over till the next day to have that tested.

All in all, it was a very scary time in my life. Especially since I passed when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately, my parents straightened things out with the draft board and I resumed my education as planned.

Many of the male teacher ed. students in my classes were simply taking  advantage of the fact that teachers were exempt from the draft. That was understandable, I thought at the time, although I honestly wanted to teach. But I was thankful for thoses who went to Vietnam instead of me.

The war ended. Eventually. We lost. Or at least we didn’t win.

But the Vietnam war was so unpopular with the American people that we failed to welcome our surviving veterans home with open arms. Or paid very much respect to those who came home in coffins. Too many Americans treated the veterans with contempt, not appreciation. As if going to war in Vietnam was their idea. Tales of the way we “honored” our veterans are horrific and inexcusable.

Now we’re fighting wars overseas that are probably just as unpopular. But at least the American people aren’t holding our military responsible for our being there. They’re placing the blame largely on presidents past and present. And the federal government in general.

Understandable. Especially since the government has failed to provide adequate funding for various military expenses, including decent pay. And what kind of medical care are our veterans coming home to?

I think America cares about her veterans. More than our government leaders seem to. Thank goodness for businesses like the two depicted at the top of this page who either offer discounts to veterans or show other kinds of support.

Memorial Day is not meant to commemorate all veterans—Veterans Day does that—but those who died in service to our country. Often in places we disapproved of their being in.

A singer/songwriter friend of ours, Michelle Lockey, wrote a song called “Not Forgotten.” Although she wrote it to memorialize the victims of 9/11, she also meant it for our veterans. I would recommend watching this video of her singing it.

She’s given me permission to share the lyrics (I’ve shortened some of the repeated parts):

Freedom’s not a game.
There was a price to pay.
Didn’t know where you were going,
But you kept on marching.
And for those who lost their lives
Shines an eternal light
Brighter than the stars,
As big as our dreams.

You will not be forgotten;
You will not be ignored.
The sacrifice you made will never die in vain.
Oh, no.
You will not be forgotten.

You forged out a path
And never looked back.
You’re the champions we needed,
The heroes to keep us moving.

Oh, you will not be forgotten;
You will not be ignored.
The sacrifice you made will never die in vain.
Oh, no.
You will not be forgotten.

I wouldn’t have made a good soldier, but I would’ve done my best. And who knows? I might have died trying. So might any of you. But thanks to the ones who did, we didn’t have to.

Won’t you join me in praying for our military—thanking God for those who gave their lives and for those who didn’t have to and asking His blessings on both our active and inactive military?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

 

Ebenezers Coffee House

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 If you didn’t read my post from this past Sunday about our interest in the National Community Church and the Ebenezers Coffee House they own and operate, you might want to go back and do that now.

That’s a fine-looking building in the first two pictures above. You’d never know it was an abandoned crack house at the time Pastor Mark Batterson saw it on his prayer walk around Capitol Hill and felt drawn to it. His church didn’t own any property and–despite years of praying over it–it was a while before God opened the right doors for purchasing and renovating it. For the complete story, I highly recommend one of Mark’s books. I’m currently finishing reading Draw the Circle — The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.

My wife and I had only two time-specific agendas for our long weekend vacation in Washington, D.C. The first was to visit one of the theater-locations of Mark’s church (the church is made up of seven theater locations) on Sunday morning. The other was to visit Ebenezers Coffee House on Saturday night.

We had learned from their website that a local folk singer, Michelle Lockey, would be performing from 7:00 to 8:00 that evening. We took the Metro from our hotel and wasted some time trying to follow the directions from Union Station to Ebenezer; it turned out that the coffee house was much easier to find than the directions indicated. Nonetheless, we arrived in plenty of time to grab a table–as well as a cookie each, plus the Mark Batterson book I mentioned earlier.

We hadn’t been there long when Michelle arrived, toting Taylor guitar and Luna ukelele in gig bags, along with two stands and a box of CDs.

The folks working the coffee house made a brave attempt to set up the sound equipment, which had never failed them before. Unfortunately, it failed this time, so Michelle would have to perform without amplification. I can tell you from my own experience that doing that when you’re not used to singing and playing without a PA is tough, but she was very gracious about it.

She was all set well before 7:00, so I took advantage of the opportunity to introduce myself and tell her jokingly that we had come all the way from Richmond, Virginia, just to hear her. And to explain that was actually partially true. I enjoyed talking with her, but finally returned to our table.

Time for Michelle to start, but there were only a few customers hanging around. Somebody had moved a couple of comfy chairs to maybe five or ten feet directly in front of Michelle, so Kathleen and I took them. Great spot for pictures.

I can’t say enough good about Michelle’s performance. Her songs were terrific, and so was her singing. Although guitar was her primary instrument, she did several songs with her ukelele. I have to admit that gave me a whole new appreciation for ukeleles, which I had never cared much for before.

By the way, that one weird-looking picture–I love it!–was her whistling during part of one song.

After her performance, she was gracious enough to let me share one of my songs with her.

And I learned that Michelle is far more than just a folk singer. She’s also a good song writer and has written music for movies and TV. And she’s won some important awards. Quite a list of accomplishments.

I won’t say anymore except to add that we came home with her four CDs–and they’ve kept playing on our stereo ever since. Check out her website for more information. And to say that Ebenezers Coffee House was everything we expected and more.

What about you? Do you have a favorite place to go and hang out–with or without entertainment? How about sharing a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.

Best regards,
Roger