Wednesday, September 5, 2007


This past week, I had the privilege to visit my father at his home in Fayetteville, NC. For those of you who are familiar with the US Army, Fayetteville is the town adjacent to Ft. Bragg, NC, the Home of the Airborne. On this particular visit, I found that my father had aged a bit more than I expected. He had grayed a lot since I last saw him. He is facing a couple of significant health issues and his gait is a bit slower. He is very pensive and enjoys watching his grandchildren. Yet, even as he ages, he still remains a man of action who prefers to approach life in a "hands-on" manner. He is still the first person to offer help whenever a need arises and always willing to encourage and support at all times. I was most surprised at how much of him I saw in myself - the way I walk, the sound of my voice and rhythm of my speech -the way I see life - even the influence of the Army's "Airborne" culture.

As a paratrooper, my father has an incredible "can-do" spirit about him and a confidence that shines through, even as his walk slows. He has stepped out of an aircraft in flight with full combat equipment, with nothing but sky underneath him and prevailed as a stronger individual. He has served his country proudly and with distinction and passed on all he has learned and embraced to me. I am an inheritor of a great tradition handed down from generation to generation - a tradition I respect, cherish and attempt to honor everyday of my life.

The importance of passing on the truths and values that are dear to us really hit me as our entire family visited the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville. There I saw my grown daughter and her husband, my teen aged daughter and my toddler daughter interacting with the marvelous exhibits - each taking in their Airborne heritage in their own way as my father beamed. The power of handing down what is precious to us from generation to generation hit me again when I saw the welcoming exhibit. In this exhibit, a life-size mock-up of a WWII paratrooper hangs in the forefront of another mock up of a contemporary airborne warrior. This fantastic display serves as a powerful reminder that what is now can only truly be understood in the context of what has gone before.

Over the past month, I have bid farewell to three church members who have taken that leap into eternity that we all know as "death". I have participated in two funeral services and will have officiated one more by this week's end. During these times of remembrance, the importance of heritage and values passed down through the generations shines through in the most significant way possible. Funerals are the most important reminders of all that each of us stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before and that only arrogance or near sightedness can prevent us from respecting and appreciating all that has been done to make us who we are and to give us all that we have.

My time with my dad this past week was an important reminder for me personally that we all age and must face our own mortality - a reality that should cause us to pause, inspect our lives and reflect on what is valuable to us. At the same time we must savor the life the Lord has given us and spend our time being about our Father's business sharing not only our earthly heritage, but the rich heritage of faith that has been passed down to us from generation to generation that all might enter into a personal relationship with Lord and know that He is God and that he is good. The Apostle Paul stated it this way when he communicated this truth to his understudy in the faith Timothy
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
We must never forget what we have and from whom we have received it. Today, as you go about your daily routine, take time to reflect upon your personal heritage and renew your commitment to never forget the origins and responsibilities of your heritage of faith. Blessings on you - AMEN and AIRBORNE!! Until next time,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From one Vet to another and as a son of a Vet to another SEMPER FI
Tu hermano en todo