Early on the morning of the 2012 Armed Forces Day, I took a virtual tour of the National Arboretum – a 150-acre wooded parkland in Staffordshire, England. It is artistically and beautifully designed with memorials that remember UK servicemen, past and present.
Few days before then, I had basked in the euphoria of witnessing the Olympic Torch pass through our city. London had been agog with unbridled excitement. All of the UK was wrapped in frenzy – buzzing and getting ready to host perhaps the greatest sporting activity on earth.
But the electric ecstasy of those days decelerated into humdrum sombre on that Armed Forces Day. As I pondered, my mind raced down memory lane. Then I came by something even more sobering. It was Prince Harry’s speech three months earlier while receiving the award for distinguished humanitarian leadership:
“So many of our Servicemen and women have made the ultimate sacrifice; so many lives have been lost and so many changed forever by the wounds that they have suffered in the course of their duties. For these selfless people, it is after the guns have fallen silent, the din of battle quietened, that the real fight begins – a fight that may last for the rest of their lives.”
Life is a fight – a long, unending fight
We enlist for that fight at birth. We only lay down our weapons at death. Every breath we take is a call to arms. Every move we make is an invasion of the enemy’s camp. We are susceptible to attacks. We are bound to be wounded. We are prone to become a casualty. Prince Harry’s words struck me real hard: In life’s battles, wounds are inevitable.
Esprit de corps!
That’s a core philosophy in the military which describes such values as honour and commitment in the service. It epitomizes pride for – devotion and loyalty to – other members of the service with which the soldiers fight and serve. That is why it is a grave offence in the military to attack, or to pass up, a wounded colleague.
I find the absence of esprit de corps in ‘The Army of the Lord’ appalling. Only in this army, it seems, is it commonplace to see soldiers fighting one another. Only in this army is it commonplace to see soldiers who don’t care for their bleeding and dying colleagues. Many times we see battle-weary Christians stagger – and fall; courage almost gone, or actually gone.
Some of their wounds are a direct onslaught from the enemy. Some are self-inflicted. But whatever the cause, it is your sacred duty as a fellow soldier to bear the stretcher. It is your sacred duty to bandage their wounds; to nurse them back to health and recovery.
It is against esprit de corps to break a bruised reed or to put out a flickering candle. The demand on you is to tend it, trim it, give it fresh oil, and cause it to burn more brightly again. When you do so, you practice the service philosophy of esprit de corps.
— By Bryce Edem
Meditation: Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. – Isaiah 35:3
You will succeed in Jesus Name!