Today is the day for the fine people of El Dorado, Kansas to kick off their week-long activities that begin with the annual Celebration of Freedom Parade. This is the week where we pay homage to those who have served this country.
The names of many of these are etched in stone at the Celebration of Freedom Memorial. The brick-paved sidewalk reflects the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the price of freedom with their lives. Many veterans will pause here today, and they will see their names beside their feet, and they will remember what they can never forget–the faces of those who fought beside them and the battlefield scars that still mark their bodies and minds.
Regardless of whether they served in a time of peace or a time of war, this memorial has a special place in the hearts of those who pledged their sacred honor to defend this great nation.
As a tribute to all veterans and as a reminder to everyone, I am including this brief video clip of one of President Reagan’s stirring speeches: A Soldier’s Pledge
After he met with a sex abuse survivor group on Sunday morning, Pope Francis addressed a group of 300 bishops: “It continues to be on my mind that the people who had the responsibility to take care of these tender ones, violated that trust and caused them great pain, and God weeps.”
Another report from last week focused on a culture of corruption that the U.S. Military is reluctant to confront. According to an article in the New York Times, “Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally ‘boy play,’ and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases.”
When some of our military have intervened, their careers haven been jeopardized. Captain Dan Quinn, a former member of the Army Special Forces, gave an American-backed militia commander a thrashing for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.
Quinn isn’t the only soldier to be punished. Because Sgt. First Class Charles Martland helped Captain Quinn the Army is trying to forcibly retire him.
Even if “boy play” is culturally permitted and a sign of status in some parts of the Middle East, it doesn’t take much sense to know that it’s morally reprehensible. Whether it’s in the USA, Afghanistan, Russia, or China, people would do well to recognize the love of Jesus for children:
Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. ~Matthew 18