My Dear Friends and Citizens,
a friend of ours was injured seriously in Afghanistan during military service, and he's only 18 -- but I can remember when he was my son's age. I can remember when he was a kid trying to figure out what it means to be like the men he admired, and how to be a man like his (adopted) father. I can see a lot of what he was in my son now.
So when that young man was a headline in our hometown, it was more than news to me. In my mind, there was a story there of someone who loves his family, and his church, and his small town, and his nation, and he volunteered to go off to serve his country in what the Bible calls the ministry of the sword.
Now, maybe the military institutions themselves today would not use those words. Maybe they have forgotten how. But the small towns and churches who nurture and grow the young men who staff the services have not. There is a great and godly dignity to want to serve your fellow man and your nation by giving up your own life and freedom for the sake of preserving home and hearth.
So today I am thinking about my son, who is getting big. And he's making me think of your son, who got big, and gave up his life for you, and yours, and mine.
Today, as I tuck in my son, I am grateful for your son. I cannot repay you for him, but I will live here and now with the solid reminder of what he did. God bless you, and keep you, and may his face shine upon you. I will spend this weekend remembering.