CIU student remembers the fallen this Memorial Day
The thoughts of Capt. Andrew S. Baughman, Chaplaincy student
This morning I somberly laid my freshly dry-cleaned army service uniform across the bed. Centered and 1/8 inch above the left breast pocket I properly placed my ribbons, centered on the right pocket flap above the button I placed my name tag. Over the last 13 years I have had the honor of serving this great nation as a U.S. Army Engineer, both enlisted and commissioned. God has blessed and protected me with multiple tours, from Afghanistan and Iraq in the Middle East to humanitarian missions in Southeast Asia. As I continued to place the insignias and buttons on my dress blues, I began to go over the sequence of events for tomorrow’s memorial ceremony honoring the life of Specialist (SPC) Antonio I. Moore from the 346th Clearance Company. The ceremony will begin “Ladies and Gentlemen, our purpose here today is to honor SPC Moore, remember his life, remember his service, and to pay final tribute to his ultimate sacrifice …”
As I envision the combat boots of SPC Moore placed with a rifle and Kevlar to form a fallen Soldier’s Cross, his identification tags delicately hanging, I try to prepare myself for strength needed to comfort the cries of loved ones at tomorrow’s ceremony. Tears began to fill my eyes as my mind raced to Brandon Landrum, Tobias Alexander, Mike Tarasiewicz, and the many other folded flags, sets of boots and dog tags that hang no longer around the necks of my brothers. I do not regret for a second the honor of serving and I know that any of our fallen would say the same if they could. I know each of our fallen proudly served for the troop to their left and right, and to provide a better life for the ones they loved.
As you celebrate this Memorial Day, I would ask that you join me in prayer.
Pray a prayer of gratitude for those who placed their life before another in selfless sacrifice. Jesus Christ gave His life that we may have eternal life. Countless men and women have given their lives in service so that we have the freedom to openly believe in the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. Be grateful in honoring their heroic and invaluable service.
Pray a prayer of comfort for the loved ones who remain and must face each day without their husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, or friend. Pray that the true comfort that comes only from our Heavenly Father fills those who are hurting and mourning. The loss of a loved one is never an easy burden to carry. Every family member of a military member knows the risks that are at stake, but nothing can ever prepare the heart for the five seconds of silence when the final roll call is rendered, and the bugler plays TAPS.
Pray a prayer for the future of our nation and the souls of the military members who continue to serve. As Ronald Reagan so eloquently stated in his 1967 Inaugural Address as California governor: “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.” With today’s pandemic, political, and social injustice tensions, it is especially important to pray for the military members who set their personal opinions aside and fight together with one purpose of maintaining freedom. Pray for those who are not believers, may they come to know and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for the leaders of the United States to make wise decisions and pray that we as believers remain vigilant in awaiting Christ’s return.
This Memorial Day in addition to time in prayer, grill some red meat, splash in the water, let some joyful music blast over the speaker and be thankful for the selfless sacrifice of our heroes. As Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
--Written 15 May 2021 by Capt. Andrew “Drew” S. Baughman. Drew is enrolled in the Master of Divinity Chaplaincy program at Columbia International University. He transitioned from Active-Duty Army to the U.S Army Reserves in December 2020 to pursue a calling into chaplaincy. His current plan is to return to Active-Duty in 2024 as a U.S. Army Chaplain.
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