“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

The Healing Wall, a 3/5 scale model replica of the Vietnam Memorial located in Washington, D.C., stopped in a neighboring county on its tour across the U.S.

Escorted by hundreds of motorcycles, it crossed the state border and came to rest into a small rural community for a few days. It was a pretty big deal for many residents of the little town.

Healing Wall
Vietnam Memorial photo courtesy DoD dvidshub.net

It may be the only chance they ever get to see the name of a friend or loved one inscribed on the Memorial Wall. I, like them, had friends and relatives who had served in that war. Some came home to continue their lives. Some did not.

Many years ago, I was privileged to visit the memorial in Washington, D.C.

It was a very moving and humbling experience as I searched for names of friends etched into the black granite wall. Some of the boys, yes, boys, teenagers, served willingly, others by draft. I was only a pre-teen when I knew them, but still, the memories of their faces, and their parent’s faces haunted me; parents who grew to dislike my family, because their sons made the draft and my brother did not. For some reason, I do not remember, he wasn’t able to serve. They went into a war they knew little about. They died or came home as amputees. My brother remained state side and continued living, whole.

I have a friend who authored the book Line Doggie: Foot Soldier in Vietnam. Charlie tells of his tour of duty and the conditions soldiers on both sides of the war endured. As I read the book, tears welled up as my heart broke for those men and women. I finally understood why my uncle did not like to talk about his time “over there,” as he would say.

As the replica traveled nearby, it made me think again about the ones who didn’t return. Those who gave their lives so that others may know freedom.

Scripture says in John 15:3 (KJV) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

How great is that love, that Christ did the same for us on the cross at Calvary, so that by faith in Him and through Him, we may have eternal life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, words cannot express the gratitude offered for the love shown by those who were and are willing to sacrifice so greatly, so that others may live. Perhaps it’s not always dying a physical death, but putting the needs and desires of others before one’s self…”dying to self” so others may know love.  If so, then help us to “die to self” in order to share your grace with others.

Lord, may The Healing Wall  help those who are carrying pain and burdens from years past. May we always be mindful of the price of freedom. In Christ name. Amen.

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