I have watched war movies for years. I have talked with veterans, listened to their stories of Vietnam, Korea, World War II, and Iraq. While a story is never as good as being there, I always thought that I had a sense of what they were involved in. An evening at a shooting range in Cleveland Tennessee was a brief glimpse into what I missed.
The weight and sound of a civilian M-16 gave me a very different picture of Vietnam. My appreciation for the kids on both sides grew as I fired a few rounds. How 18 and 19 year old kids could hump the jungles carrying a M-16 with enough ammo to have a fighting chance of staying alive is beyond my imagination! If I consider food and other supplies, I am in awe.
This awareness created a stunned reflection when I picked up a World War II rifle. The weight made the M-16 seem light. The mechanics of loading the rifle with six bullets was cumbersome and dangerous. When I squeezed the trigger, the ringing in my ears took me to a point of instant reflection. I could not imagine lasting a day on the beaches of Normandy or in the German countryside if I had to carry this rifle with ammo, march, and fight for my life.
In this frame of mind, I found myself looking at a series of rhetorical questions; “Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”?” (1 Corinthians 12.21)
What would I do without the sacrifice of others? How would I live if others had not stood up for what they and I believe?
The reflection takes a twist with today dawn. What will I do today that honor the sacrifice of those before me? Am I willing to walk in their shoes, if only for a day? I know I will not have to carry a rifle and ammo, however this does not excuse me from answering a call to action.