I grieve deeply for those who suffer, in body and soul, from their battlefield experiences, especially those from the Vietnam conflict who were met by a hostile public when they came home.
There was another soldier, who lived centuries ago, who was also ordered by his “Commander-in-Chief” to serve a sacred cause. He too suffered in body and soul. Many people, like those in his hometown, didn’t believe in his mission. Vile names and insults were hurled at him. He was spit on, called a liar and his efforts ridiculed.
Few supported him. At the end of his “tour of duty,” like many of you, he was treated like a criminal, humiliated, innocent of all charges. And like some of your comrades, he gave up his life, knowing the freedoms of many will prevail, because of his efforts and sacrifice. His name is Jesus Christ, God’s only son.
The parallel is this: Both missions have succeeded. We all remain free, in this land, and many, within our hearts — all by God’s grace and mercy. Like Jesus, you went, you served, giving your all, sacrificed much, because you were called.
As God would say to his son, we say to all of you, each one: “Well done, good and faithful servants.”