Chief Scott Young, a U.S. Marine veteran, retired after faithfully serving 20 years as police chief in Stafford, New Hampshire. Retirement didn’t last long, though. Chief Young raised the bar with his example when, at the request of the Barrington, NH Police Department, he returned to law enforcement as a patrolman to help train and mentor new and ranking police officers,
Chief Young comes from a lineage of police officers, starting with his grandfather and uncles. Now he, two of his sons, and his brother continue their family story of service to our nation and their communities. His family history also includes generations of service as Marines and firefighters, with several continuing this tradition. What a gift Chief Scott Young and his family are!
But as much as Chief Young loves serving in law enforcement, he shares there’s something even more important to him.
Ray Smith is a man of many missions, a man of many hats and he wears them well: Secret City historian, U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran, Chaplain Emeritus, having served the Oak Ridge Police Department for 23 years. Mr. Smith is also an engaging storyteller, author, videographer, Tennessee Historical Commission Commissioner, teacher, photographer, documentary producer, multi award-winning citizen, church elder, father, and devoted husband to his beloved wife of 57 years.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ray Smith in May 2021 when he gave me a tour of the Oak Ridge History Museum as part of my research trip for the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s. What a delight to discover he was a police chaplain as I’m about to embark on a series featuring law enforcement officers from around the country.
Mr. Ray Smith’s achievements resemble what would take several men a lifetime to accomplish. He calls himself retired but shows no signs of slowing down. I’m honored to host this brave, humble hero in this video interview and share his stories, insights, and resources with you. Enjoy.
First Class Petty Officer Francis W. Preston, a 102-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, served in the Pacific during World War II. Fran shares his journey from sailing the war-torn seas to becoming a soul seeker.
Domenick Lasorsa is the grateful son of a navy veteran with a heart to serve others, to give back. Domenick shares about support for military veterans and their families in this short, upbeat, informative video.
It is my pleasure and honor to introduce via video, Pastor Ron and Kathie Banet, missionaries to South Africa. In this interview they share:
Pastor Banet’s journey from U.S. Marine to missionary and how it prepared him to pastor.
Their conversion to Christianity
Insights on raising up disciples
Orchestrating ministries to train in skilled trades and to help the drug addicted
Life on the mission field
The local response to their daughter and son-in-law’s interracial marriage and race relations in South Africa
Navigating COVID as a church
Church planting and more
Pastor Banet and Kathie were sent out of The Potter’s House Church, Prescott Arizona in 2004. They pastor the Potter’s House Church in Eldorado Park, a suburb of Johannesburg near Soweto. The Potter’s House in Eldorado serves as a leadership and bible conference center for the region and has planted churches in South Africa and beyond.
Welcome to Part 2 of 2 of A Conversation with United Army Chaplain, Special Needs Parent, and Writer Brad Lee. In this video segment Chaplain Lee is joined by his wife, Lori and they share more about life as a military family with six children, one of whom has Downs Syndrome and Autism. Lori gives insights on how we can support military wives and parents of special needs children and more.
It is my honor to introduce you to United States Army Chaplain, Brad Lee. Chaplain Lee is a husband and father of six, and a writer with a forthcoming book inspired by his journey with his young son who has Downs Syndrome and Autism.
In Part 1 of this two part conversation, Chaplain Lee shares the road that led him to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army, some of the adventures, challenges, and opportunities he encounters as he serves our country and our soldiers, as well as some powerful thoughts on and wise counsel to our nation.
May we live our lives in appreciation of and in such a way so that we honor the sacrifices of all of our American servicemen and women. To those who have served, to those who paid the ultimate price by laying down their lives for our freedom, and to those who currently faithfully serve and protect our great nation—thank you and God bless you and your families.
Originally posted Memorial Day 2017 Rachael M Colby, Tattoo It On Your Heart
“I joined the military because I’m answering my calling.” – U.S. Army serviceman
***The quotes in blue dispersed throughout this post are from active duty members of our military who I had the privilege of interviewing.
There is no less than or better than in God’s eyes- just obedience or disobedience to God and the tasks He has called us to. There are no insignificant tasks when we are doing what God has called us to. What are you called to do? Then do that.
Only 2 of the 50 people I asked, knew that the third Saturday of May is designated as Armed Services Day. I didn’t know either until I read Dr. Nichols’s article. However, someone did inform me that May fourth was Star Wars Day. Can we please fix this?
“After college I couldn’t find a job. My Father was an Army reservist and encouraged me. My Grandfather was a World War II Navy veteran.” -active duty U.S Air force, 14 years
“I thought why not be the first to serve in my family?”
“It‘s stable. Good pay.” -U.S. Army, Served in Kuwait twice
“I was in a rut and in need of a way out. I felt the military was a good way out- schooling, job. -U.S. Army
”I Joined because I wanted to do something better with myself.” -Retired, U.S. Air Force, 20 yrs. (Still volunteers for events)
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the U. S. Department of Defense.
“They, (American civilians), think Otis Air Force base is closed. They don’t know there is still a war. “ -U.S. Air force
“We do our duty. Be supportive of the military. Some towns locally don’t show support of us. When they see us it’s like, “What are you doing here?” I’d like to see more parades, and events like this, (Troops in the Spotlight), to be more a part of the culture. -U.S. Army
How can we help you?
“Many Americans don’t understand our military. There is a gap between civilians and the military. People ask, most don’t know we are still at war. In World War II there was a shared sacrifice with civilians.They participated in the war effort,to meet the needs. Weneed civilians to educate themselves and participate.” -U.S. Army
“Remember we are serving. Serving here is just as important as serving overseas.We have jobs, we volunteer in the community- training personnel to deploy, helping with school, with storm support, the Red Cross, the Boston marathon, communications.” -U.S. Air Force
“Be an American. Show your support, like you’re doing now. Appreciate the benefits of the U.S. being your home. Take care of it. America needs to come first. Just be a civilian and do the best you can.”
“I could say more benefits, or that some things need to be fixed with the VA… but what we really need is unity. Have your differences. You’re an immigrant…Welcome- but you are an American now. Be one nation.”
He was only 19 as he and his fellow soldiers of the 104th Infantry Division “Timberwolves” fought to the north of where the Battle of the Bulge waged. The cold, wet conditions in December 1944 made it all the more miserable and David and many of the men suffered from trench foot as a result.
They pressed toward the Nazi army as shots rang out. Suddenly, in the exchange of fire a bullet found its target and an American soldier fell and lay wounded in the space between them and the enemy.
David ran across the open field, dodging the volley of ammunition raining down on them from the enemy. As he carried his fellow soldier back to their unit a bullet ripped through David’s leg.
David lay recovering from his wound in the hospital in Belgium, grateful to be alive, and that he had managed to save the soldier’s life. But he longed for home. His thoughts drifted to his younger sister, Jean, and the sweet sound of her singing as she played Christmas carols on the family piano in the parlor. David picked up his pen and began to draw.
“The sacrifice of being away from my family is the hardest. The births, funerals, birthdays I miss. When my niece asked why I wasn’t at her birthday…when you come home and kids don’t recognize you, don’t know you. It’s hard not being there for my family, but those people I’m not there for- are the reason why I’m gone. I’m doing this for them, to take care of them. So, by being away, I am there for them.” – U.S. Army
“The hardest thing is being away from my family. I have friends serving overseas.”
The good soldier fights for freedom, righteousness & securing an ordinary peaceful life and opportunity for his people. Those fulfilling wholesome occupations are part of a soldier’s reward which he can look forward to coming home to. Do your secular duty in light of the trust you have received as citizens of our great nation, and if you are a Christian, as ambassadors for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“God, I pray for your grace to enable us to raise our families, appreciate our freedoms, care for our countrymen and nation and live our lives in such a manner that is worthy of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform.”
“Those citizens who are doing their best- We appreciate it.” -U.S. Army
What bothers you?
“Staying up all night.”
“The PC. Why is there any such thing as politically correct?”
“When I ask for the military discount and they ask for my husband’s ID. I’m the service person.”
“Recognize women in the military. People ask about us being harassed in the military. I get harassed by those not in the military.”
“I have lost two friends in combat.”
“Most American citizens aren’t aware servicemen died today in combat. Do they know their names?”
Do you have concerns about our military?
“Not at all, right now.”
“No concerns. Everything is a cycle. What goes up will come down and what is down will come up.”
“Drill instructors aren’t tough enough today on recruits.”
“I’m concerned the military has gotten a little soft.”
“The definition of hazing has gone too far.”
“Now there is more paperwork. The military used to be more physical. You can’t engage the enemy with paper.”
“We need to toughen up the military.”
“We hope they don’t shut down more bases. This is how we support our families. This is our job. This is who we are. This is what we do” -U.S. Air Force
“It is what it is. I don’t get caught up in the possibilities, the threats. I knew what I was getting into when I signed up.”
Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
In 1866, following the Civil War, a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, decorated the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers with flowers. This benevolent gesture inspired the poem “The Blue and the Grey,” by Francis Miles Finch.
On May 5th, 1868, Union hero Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, who was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Order Number 11, designating May 30 as a day of memorial, originally known as Decoration Day, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
With President Ulysses Grant presiding, General James A. Garfield, (who later became 20th president of the united States in 1881), delivered the speech at the first national Memorial Day observance which took place on May 30th 1868, with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the ground of which was formerly the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his wife.
Memorial Day was later expanded to honor all deceased American military men and women who gave their lives defending our nation in battle. In 1971, federal law moved the observance of Memorial day to the last Monday in May.
Today Memorial Day is observed at Arlington National Cemetery by decorating each grave with an American flag and placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In other military cemeteries, flags are placed on the graves of all veterans and even on their spouse’s graves on Memorial Day.
General James A. Garfield’s Speech, known as “His finest hour,” given at the first national Memorial Day:
I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue… Click to continue
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. -Edmund Burke
In issues of morality, there is no neutral ground.
Do you have concerns about our country?
“The way kids are being brought up. They don’t respect authority and only want to play games. I think they should all serve two years in the military after high school.”
“Taking away gun rights doesn’t stop the bad guys. We need rules and regulations. But you need the right to defend yourself.” -U.S. Air Force
“There’s no respect.”
“Children today have no respect for authority.”
“People don’t have respect for authority, for each other, the military, our country.”
“It’s horrible how people treat our police officers.” -U.S. Army
“The situation in the nation between citizens, the youth, and police officers.” -U.S. Air Force
“We need more enlistments.” -U.S. Army
“I’m concerned about the disconnect. Less than 1% of the population carry the burden of serving in our military.” U.S. Army
“Be aware. Isis is everywhere. They are here. Living on your street.” -U.S Air Force
We are either aiding the advancement of evil, or good. Doing nothing to stop evil when you are able, is aiding it.
War is a terrible thing, but sometimes it is necessary to wage war in order to win peace.
But the greatest danger is always present- war or not. The jeopardy of the man precariously perched on the edge of Hell waiting for someone to deliver the life & eternal life saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I would be remiss to not draw attention to the most epic battle ever waged- the one for our souls. Jesus fought to rescue you from the grip of Satan’s tyranny so you don’t have to live captive to your sin, your sorrow, your past, or circumstance.
You wouldn’t step into battle unprepared. You shouldn’t step into eternity unprepared.
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NASB)
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (NASB)
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.1 John 3:16 (NASB)
I am concerned that we are divided. Realize what we as a nation are about: United- one nation. Represent your flag. We need understanding, to accept and respect each other. Out of many one people.
Have your culture; have your heritage. Be proud of your heritage, but we are all Americans. E Pluribus Unim; out of many, one. We are Americans first. -U.S. Army serviceman (Twice deployed to Afghanistan) -U.S. Army
Link to video of:The Star Spangled Banner (with lyrics) Performed by Sandi Patti with the original lyrics written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 and added verse composed by Claire Cloninger for the Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration in 1986.
In grateful acknowledgement of all American military personnel who have served and are currently serving in our United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Thank you for your service.
“God, may our hearts hold our American military and their families in grateful honor and prayer and let us demonstrate our love and support for them, not just on designated days, but always.”
The connection between poppies and the military:
The poem, In Flander’s Fields, written by Canadian officer and surgeon John McCrae in 1915 during World War I, is responsible for the red poppy’s rise of popularity and subsequent adoption as a symbol of remembrance. By 1917, In Flanders Fields, was shared throughout the English speaking world and used to bring attention to the war effort, recruit American soldiers, and help raise money for the troops. It became one of history’s most famous wartime poems.