Back in June, I had the opportunity to be in Madison, Wisconsin, working with a group of leaders. That day, I met a man named Terry.
When he came into the room where the seminar was being held, he had on a POW/MIA hat. I asked him if he had been a POW. He said no, but that he knew one. He showed me a bracelet that he was wearing with a man’s name on it and the date he had been shot down. It was in 1969.
I asked him how he knew the man and he told me that he never did. He had heard about the man back in 1972. This intrigued me. I asked him more questions, and I could tell that there was a real story here. I asked if we could maybe have lunch together. I wanted to hear his story. He said yes.
During lunch, he told me that in 1972 he had been a protester against the war in Vietnam. He hated the war and what it was doing to the country. But at the same time, he was for the soldiers. He said that he respected them, and disliked how they were being treated when they came home from the war. When he heard the story about his POW, his heart was filled with compassion. He began to think about the fact that the pilot had made one of the ultimate sacrifices for his country. He had either been killed, or had been imprisoned. No one knew. But he didn’t want the soldier to be forgotten. Terry told me that he began to think about his own life. What was he sacrificing? What did he stand for? How was he making a difference? So he decided to put on the bracelet—in 1972. And he has worn it every day since!
He has been wearing it for 40 years now. He never met the pilot and has no idea what happened to him. But he shows his respect for the man’s sacrifice every day. He honors him.
Quite frankly, I find that extraordinary . . .
It makes me think of Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us. Almost 2000 years before we were born, he made the ultimate sacrifice. He endured what many say is the most excruciating death possible – crucifixion. He put on a crown of thorns for us. He was nailed to a cross. He was beaten and spit on. He did that for you and he did that for me.
I remember and honor him today and every day. I will not forget him. My banner is clear. I am not ashamed.
Thank you Jesus . . .