Historic dates serve as bookends of war

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Col.) Michael Dugal
U.S. Army-Pacific



“Where were you?” is the probing question of Alan Jackson’s country hit, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning on That September Day?”

You will probably never forget where you were on Sept. 11, 2001; the mental pictures of the Twin Towers burning and crumbling are etched in our hearts and minds.

Living in Hawaii is a constant reminder of another day when our nation was attacked — Dec. 7, 1941 — the date of the infamous attacks on Pearl Harbor and entry of the U.S. into World War II.

What is the significance of these two dates? They are both “bookends.”

When you visit the USS Missouri, the tour guides may speak of the Missouri and USS Arizona as the two symbolic bookends of World War II. The Arizona represents the beginning of the war, and the Missouri represents the end.

Standing on the deck of the Missouri, you can look over at the Arizona Memorial: One ship is retired, yet afloat; the other is resting on the ocean floor, a tomb for her fallen crew.

The submerged Arizona speaks of tragedy and reminds us of the cost of war. The surviving Missouri speaks of the hope and resolve for a chance for peace in our world.

This generation knows too well the images of the burning twin towers, the flag-draped Pentagon and the furrowed ground in rural Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed. These are the front bookends of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What will be the last bookend?

It is my sincere prayer that almighty God will grant us the strength, courage and determination to find peace as the second bookend of this prolonged war.

Our faith in the living God, who is and who is not silent, can be the fuel that ignites and maintains our journey toward the bookend of peace.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day when “the Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. Every weapon of war will be transformed into a farm instrument. There will be no need to study war ever again” (Isaiah 2:4). This verse is a clear promise of the ultimate and eternal bookend regarding the nations.

Until then, it is our duty to love God with our whole being and love our neighbors as ourselves. It is our duty to faithfully serve as we wear our nation’s cloth and solemnly swear, “This We’ll Defend.”

And it is our duty to pray for peace, allowing our faith to give us the courage to believe peace is possible.

One Team! Pro Deo Et Patria! (For God and Country).

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, Leadership, Observances, Standing Columns

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