I am blessed to be married to a Vietnam veteran who served his tour of duty during the Tet Offensive. He wasn’t wounded physically (though he now suffers from a number of illnesses as a result of exposure to Agent Orange), but the memories of that time still haunt him.
He was drafted at 19. Fleeing to Canada wasn’t an option. Initially he feared for his own life, he says, but when the mortars were lighting up the sky, his focus was on protecting his fellow soldiers, defending his country. Patriotism born on the battlefield.
His faith was birthed there as well. Not faith in a country or government, but faith in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. The one who protected him time and again, saved him from being blown up in his barracks and burned in a hotel fire. He was one of the lucky ones.
It has been his allegiance to Jesus, who bled and died for the salvation of us all, that has sustained him and given him the ultimate freedom to live at peace with his God and to serve others.
I have the privilege of knowing this man’s story, and there are so many others like him who selflessly served our country and have stories they need to tell. Go ahead, thank a vet today, honor those who died on the battlefield, but also take time to listen to their stories so that through the telling, God might heal their broken hearts.
Thank you, Paul, for fighting and for sharing your story with me.