If You Are Able

Flags are flapping in an Oklahoma breeze out front of many houses in my neighborhood today. As I drove by a cemetery this morning small versions of the Stars and Stripes seemed to cover the landscape. 

It’s Memorial Day when we remember and honor all soldiers and their service, especially those who lost their lives defending our country. As I sat here in front of my computer browsing, reading and being emotionally touched, I was moved to offer a sense of my reverence and gratitude here.

What hit me most was when I began to read about particular individuals.  Many of those stories touched my heart.   I picked one to share about a man who died in the war my generation fought: Vietnam.

“If You Are Able” by Captain/Major O’Donnell
(written before his death in battle).

Save for them a place
Inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving,
For the places they can no longer go,
Be not ashamed to say
You loved them,
Though you may or
May not always have,
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you
With their dying
And keep it with your own,
And in that time
When men decide, and feel safe,
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace
Those gentle heroes
You left behind.

Michael Davis O’Donnel Captain, Pilot, whose last known activity was March 24, 1970 was from Springfield, Illinois. He was promoted to Major once considered MIA. A reconnaissance team engaged an enemy force in Cambodia for three days and asked for extraction. Captain O’Donnel and his crew flew to the rescue. The pilot, ignoring his own safety, was attempting a rescue when his helicopter was hit by enemy fire then crashed and burned.

Had the drawing for draft numbers come up differently I could easily been one in the 70’s who served but did not come home to see family and friends again. Never will I think war is a good thing, but always I will greatly appreciate, respect and honor our warriors. With humble gratitude to Capt. O’Donnel and all who have severed (and the families who endure loss and all the grief of war) I say “thank you”: small words but expressed with deep conviction and gratitude.

We come,
not to mourn our dead soldiers,
but to praise them.
Francis A. Walker

I would appreciate it if you could help me honor our soldiers
by forwarding today’s blog to others. Thank you!