Memorial Day is just one of many occasions that I intentionally think about and give thanks for my dad. Several years ago now he departed this life to be with his Lord, but the memories of the man he was still bear their fruit on this earth. Unlike so many career military persons, he did not center his identity around the uniform. He was not a soldier first. He was a man, a husband, a Christian called to war by his country in a time of need. He was not a warrior looking for a fight. He was a gentle man who would fight when the time called for it.
This is not to diminish the pride many feel in serving in the armed services. I have several family and friends of whom I am very proud of in their service for our country. But wars are not to be fought and won by strength of numbers and might but by strength of character and virtue. Good men make good soldiers. Good soldiers do not necessarily make good men. George Washington knew this as he was facing down the strongest, most well-trained army on earth. He knew the colonials could never win the power war, but they could win the virtue war. He insisted on a culture of high morals and character within the ranks.
What made my dad great on the battlefield was his greatness around the dinner table. I may never be called to war by my country, but I am called to lay down my life every day for the sake of a different country—a greater kingdom. May the memories of my dad serve the good purpose of equipping me for the fight, reminding me of who I am, and bearing witness that he who loses his life will find it.