This is a photo of my Grandpa, Benjamin Earl Johnson, taken in Germany during World War I.
He drove an ammunition truck back and forth to the front line. I’ve seen a lot of photos like this one on social media today in honor of Memorial Day.
All of the men and women I’ve seen were so young.
Oh how I wish that we could honor their sacrifice with a wisdom that would endow us with peace.
I don’t believe that my Grandpa fought “the war to end all wars” just so that his posterity would have to keep fighting again and again and again. I think he believed he was winning peace for us with his sacrifice.
Some things are worth fighting for, I know and understand that. I just wonder sometimes if mankind will ever reach a point where we love more than we hate, where we serve more than we steal, and where we hope more than we fear.
On this Memorial Day I am thinking of the men and women who gave up the promise of a life of peace for the reality of a world at war; for those who continue to sacrifice their own comfort because they can see hate, brutality, and terror encroaching on the people of the Earth.
I am not a soldier, but I stand behind those that are and so this is my promise on this Memorial Day: I will not waste your sacrifice, I will not forget you, I will take the freedom that has cost your youth, your life, and I will stand for what is true, good, noble, and honorable. I will do my part to defend the freedom I treasure because I know it is not enough to simply remember; I must act, I must do, I must serve so that the terrible price that you paid is not lost to neglect and apathy. I thank God for your lives, for your sacrifice, and for your example.
Thank you for my life Grandpa, for my heritage, for my freedom. I will work all my days to pass it on in peace.