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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Everyone's heard that Bible verse, right? And, when we hear it, we nod our heads, agreeing with the sentiment. But... in reality... would we do it? Would we really put ourselves- our bodies, our lives- on the line, knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that we would die, but that, with our death, friends might be saved? Would you? Could you? If it was really all that easy to love that strongly, we wouldn't tear up and sit in awe when we hear stories about men- heroes- like PO2 Michael Monsoor.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."
Petty Officer Monsoor was already a hero before that day- he was awarded the Silver Star (posthumously) for helping pull a fellow SEAL to safety during a fire fight last May. And, when it came down to it, he just did what he had to do. He loved his team enough surrender his life so that the rest might live. It was just who he was, I guess.

I wasn't sure what to write about him. I never knew him. I never knew OF him until I saw the article about his sacrifice. But, then again, I didn't know Kyle or Mark either. I just know they need to be remembered. Their stories need to be told. The story of each and every soldier, sailor, airman and marine who has died for this country needs to be told by someone, somewhere. Not because they would say they deserve a tribute- far from it. They would tell you that it was nothing special... they were just doing their jobs. But what they did was so much more than "just doing their jobs."

By choosing to put on the uniform, they made a statement. It's a subtle statement, missed by many. If you'd ask, many of them would have just rolled their eyes. But think about it. By putting on the uniforms of the United States Armed Services, they said, "I love you."

They said "I love you" to our country.

They said "I love you" to their fellow service members.

And they said "I love you" to each and every one of us.

Think about it. Just for a moment. And then say a prayer for those who are still in the fight.

To Petty Officer Monsoor's family, I offered my thoughts and prayers.

There is a hymn that is often called "The Navy Hymn," Eternal Father, Strong to Save. It is a beautiful song, and quite fitting.
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

(Alternate verse)
And when at length her course is run,
Her work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that in her sailed
Let not one life in Thee have failed;
But hear from Heaven our sailor’s cry,
And grant eternal life on high!
Fair winds and following seas, Petty Officer. Fair winds and following seas.

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