I remember the day of my father’s funeral. He had been a pilot in the Korean Conflict, and I will always remember the impressive solemnity of the 21-gun salute just before the graveside service ended. My heart was so sad to know I wouldn’t see Dad again in this life – but I was SO proud of him and his service to our country.
As we grew up, he had told us stories of the many combat missions he had flown. One that always made my heart stop was about the time he had flown his last assigned mission, and was readying to head back to the States.
His commanding officer asked him if he wanted to go out with just one more crew – they didn’t really need him, but there was room for him and they were his friends, and if he wanted, he was welcome to go for just one more flight.
Dad had been away from home for so long, and really wanted to get back – so he declined and continued his preparations to return home.
The next day, he learned that the crew he’d been invited to join never returned. His heart broke for them, and for their families. When he got home, he hugged Mom and each of the children tighter than ever before…knowing it could have been him on that plane, too. I grew up praying for the families of that crew, hoping somehow they’d be watched over and blessed.
Today we remember those who have served, and those who gave their all. We know there are women in our ranks whose loves were lost in the service of our country. Our hearts go out to you today, as we remember, and as we continue to pray that you too will be watched over, and blessed.