Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Shock and Awe. At the time, we were singing Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue”, and our country was recuperating from 9-11-01. We were shaken, but we were proud of our men and women, who were keeping the war “over there”. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what they had to deal with then.
Recently, Tyler Vargas Andrews testified before congress of his experience at the Abbey Gate in the Afghanistan withdrawal.
To me, this man is a special kind of hero – along with those who have suffered for another and maybe on account of another… his tears reflect all the wounds of war and the weight of memory… so painful… yet he dares to stand in integrity and truth, like a lamp shining in a murky place, naturally exposing where darkness lies. To this man, and all the people represented thereby, there is much gratitude and respect.
Where the present darkness may temporarily abide in a form of power, Light shines through the darkness and the darkness cannot overpower it…
Here is a link to his testimony: https://taskandpurpose.com/news/marine-wounded-abbey-gate-afghanistan-withdrawal/
I have known several precious people who served in the middle east and in Viet Nam and paid such a price, speaking little or nothing of their experiences, yet the shadows of that experience affected every nook and cranny of their lives. They didn’t all have songs sung when they came home, we didn’t understand so much what they experienced, but in our heart they are honored and respected as we came to understand.
I value every tear they shed.
When the U.S. Embassy was vacated, some photos came out through the news mediums, not all were identified by the photographers. There was one photo of a service member holding the folded flag from the embassy close to himself, in the helicopter or airplane he was being evacuated in. What a tragic day. From this photo, I took a painting in sharing in that day with them.
The painting may not do his experience justice, but it included my prayers for those people that did have to experience such things. I thought about all that was folded in that flag and in his embrace of it.
There are more paintings taken from their experience when they were “over there”, each one a prayer, trusting God that these very special people would be safe in body, mind and spirit… a connection where I could share in their lives, hold them close somehow. I thought about these who served with their whole hearts, and what they were fighting for:
For each other and for us, and for our America.
This has been in my heart since I saw Mr. Vargas-Andrews testify. God bless him, God bless and heal all our serving ones, and God bless and keep our America.
“Let Music swell the breeze And ring from all the trees
Sweet Freedom’s Song:
Let mortal tongues awake, Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the Sound prolong!
Our fathers’ God, to Thee, Author of Liberty, of Thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy Might, Great God our King!”
Father God, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus Name, Heal our serving ones, heal our Land. Glorify Your Name in America and all through the earth and the universe. Amen.