As I approached this Memorial Day 2020, I recall the many faces of the military service members I was privileged to serve with during my nearly 30 years as a military chaplain.
As I pay tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives, I am reminded of the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be call the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).
Today, I see and remember the faces of men and women, young and old, heroes, peacemakers — all willing to give their lives to ensure our freedom. These selfless servants who paid the ultimate price.
I see the face of Airman First Class (A1C) Elizabeth Jacobson, the first female U.S. airman killed in the line of duty (September 28, 2005) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Air Force Security Forces member killed in conflict since the Vietnam War. I was honored to preside at Airman Jacobson’s memorial service at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, near the Iraqui border.
I see the face of Staff Sergeant (SSgt), Timothy Davis who was killed in action (February 20, 2009), near Bagram, Afghanistan. I had the great privilege to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan with Sergeant Davis from our home base of Hurlburt Field, Florida–the home of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). I was honored to conduct the military memorial service for Sergeant Davis in Balad, Iraq.
I’m sure that on this Memorial Day, you, too will see their faces and remember the sacrifices of family members and friends who truly embodied the words of Jesus: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).
On this Memorial Day 2020, in the year of our Lord, we honor our fallen heroes by REMEMBERING them today and always. May God’s richest blessings abide with those who have lost so much that you and I might have so much. Amen.