Uncommon Valor

“Poor is the nation that has no heroes. Poorer still is the nation that, having heroes, fails to remember and honor them.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a day we mark with picnics and parades. The unofficial beginning of summer, yet so much more than the chance to eat hot dogs and buy a new swimsuit.

Decoration Day, as the holiday was originally known, began after the Civil War–our bloodiest conflict. It was a time when a divided country was trying to heal–perhaps as we are today.

We mark the day on the last Monday of May–but May 30 had been the selected date before three-day weekends became a priority. May 30 reminds us of no notable battles from the Civil War. The day only reminds us of those who’ve given themselves for the cause of country–our country.

We enrich ourselves in this remembering.

Remembering those who’ve done noble things tells us we can be noble too.

Of his sailors and marines at Iwo Jima in World War II, Admiral Chester Nimitz said, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Iwo Jima is famous for the flag-raising image that is now a statue.

Three of the six flag raisers died in battle.

My father was in the South Pacific as a Navy medic. He was someone who went to war to make sure others came home safely. Someone who hoped not to see battle–but was prepared in case he did,

“Courage, G.K. Chesterton said, “is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”

Today we remember those who wanted to live but gave themselves instead.

For us.

Photo Credit: Unsplash and National Geographic

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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33 Replies to “Uncommon Valor”

  1. Well said author! Not one of our fellow veterans who paid the ultimate price for our freedom wanted to die. Yet each one of them realized that in war that very price might be asked of them. To the person, they went anyway. That, my sweet friend, is chief among the reasons we should extend such honor to them. My prayers for their families who I pray continue to live in the freedom their loved one paid for. God’s blessings to both you and them ma’am.

  2. Love the line, “remembering those who’ve done noble things tell us we can be noble too.” Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Nancy, I love your opening quote, your ending quote, and all the words in-between. I didn’t know 3 of the flag-raisers died in battle or that your father served. Thanks for this beautiful tribute.

  4. I love what you said here: “We enrich ourselves in this remembering.” This is key. By remembering, we honor others and remind ourselves of our ultimate goal: love God and love others as we love ourselves.

  5. May the Lord bless all the families of our fallen warriors and May we never forget their sacrifice for our freedoms. Thanks Nancy.

  6. Thank you for this post, Nancy. My grandfather was a doctor in the Navy and was stationed on Guam. He dedicated his life to healing, and I know that those early years in the military shaped him and his faith and, as a result, our family.

  7. Nice tribute Nancy. We were raised in a household that held important the ideals of love of country. I noticed at every football game my father would stand with hand over heart during the National Anthem. The same held for the passing of our flag at every parade. He was a proud veteran but always gave honor first to those who did not come home while minimizing his contribution. I have found that to be a common refrain from veterans. How lucky we were to have witnessed his standards. How unfortunate for many they do not get the same experience. God Bless America. Please!

    1. So true, Jeff! We were blessed, indeed. Mother put her hand over her heart when the flag passed also. We are doubly blessed. Thanks and God bless!

  8. So important to remember our fallen Brothers and Sisters who paid the ultimate price. We have so much to be thankful for and sometimes we forget that freedom is not free…. as an Airforce Veteran I love seeing posts where respect is given to the ones who served and did not come home. Thanks Sister, God Bless You and Yours.

  9. loved this article for Memorial Day! The definition of courage by G.K Chesterton was great meaning and it is one I will remember to share with others.

  10. Thank you, Nancy, for a post that honors our country and our veterans. May the Lord raise up more godly heroes among us. Well-written

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