Iwo Jima and Personal Sacrifice

I stood on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in June 1995 for the express purpose of fulfilling my desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. This evening I stood beneath the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington D.C. in awe of The Lord's allowance of a life of service for me and my family. Nothing refreshes me more than a trip to D.C. to places like this and Arlington to remember the virtue yet present in the hope of the people of this land and the real priviledge it is to serve.

Few people are less politically motivated than me. Few people get less life from political banter and games than me. Sacrifice. Service. Honorable commitment to virtues bigger than oneself or circumstances. These things move me. They hint at the beauty of redemptive suffering and life giving sacrifice found in Christ. Human love and life and death and hope rising against tyranny. Men surging, struggling, suffering together in the high cause of freedom and the immediate challenge of survival.

There is a persistent myth that the Iwo Jima Memorial Statue has an extra hand, a thirteenth hand, depicting the hand of God helping to win the war. There is no 13th hand in the statue. There were six men and twelve hands. The eyes of God oversee all the folly and beauty of man. The voice of God calls to man in the direction of love and hope. Often, hope must be faught for. Love is most often and most beautifully, in the broken conditions of this current world, put on display in sacrifice, in voluntary suffering in the cause of something bigger than oneself.

I'm humbled and honored to be a part of something so big as the Marine Corps. One of my most prized possessions is a little bag of black volcanic sand from Iwo Jima, given to me buy a fellow Marine. I'm no fan of war or suffering. Neither am I a fool, under the mistaken impression that in this broken world peace can often or readily arise from anything other than people willing to voluntarily assume responsibility to make things better and endure hardship in pursuit of our highest common virtues.
You don't have to be a Marine to do that; just willing to be a part of something bigger than yourself...