Memorial Day Reflections by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is an internationally known expert on male-female relationships. Also a dynamic speaker, he was recently invited to speak to the NFL owners and coaches, the PGA players and spouses at The Player’s Championship, and the New York Giants at their new stadium in NJ. But most honoring to him was being invited by the military brass to speak to the troops in Iraq this year. Dr. Eggerichs is also the author of several books, including the national bestseller Love and Respect.
I attended a military school for five years. As a cadet corps, we stood at attention each day at the raising and the lowering of the flag. Often I felt chills as I faced the red, white and blue. I am a patriot. I do not believe other peoples and nations are less than us in terms of intrinsic value but I do believe God shed His grace on this great land and people. We are, in a foundational sense, a nation that has worshipped the God of the Bible. Because of that, for example, we are a nation that has been a first responder to human need around the world. Our Judeo-Christian worldview calls us to serve others. We are a giving nation, and a forgiving nation. What other nation compares?
When I saluted the flag, I felt that deep in my soul. Because I am proud of this nation’s past greatness does not mean I have a demeaning view of other nations. As I often say at the conferences, “Because I am saying something positive about your sons, I am not saying something negative about your daughters.” Because I am saying something wonderful about our country, I am not denouncing other nations.
On this Memorial Day will you permit me to feel chills in the face of the flag? Will you permit me to feel this way because of the giving and forgiving this nation has demonstrated? Will you allow me to shed a tear, many tears, over those brave men and women who sacrificed their blood so that I could live free?
Not long ago I received an email from the Mother of one of our brave soldiers. I’m sure it will move you deeply, as it did me, so I share it today in honor of all our military personnel and their families.
Your conference first hit home to me in regards to my son enlisting in the military. I knew it was his goal when he finished high school, but secretly hoped he would change his mind when the time came. He didn't change his mind, and though I supported his decision, part of me was offended. I thought, "Doesn't he love us? Why does he want to leave us? Doesn't he love his home, his church? Doesn't he care about staying connected to us here? Why does he want to go away?"
Your conference made me realize that it is honor, duty and responsibility that drove him to do what he did. He needed to do that respectable thing as a man, to serve and protect. As military mothers, we need to respect our sons as men. They have chosen to do the honorable thing - to serve.
My son was killed in Iraq 1 year and 3 months after he left our home for boot camp. He knew it could happen, and so did I. I thank the Lord for young men who continue to step up to do the honorable, respectable thing of serving in the military. Abe enlisted in the Marines to protect us no matter what the cost. Thank you for helping me to understand the beautiful heart that God gave to my son.
Maria Simpson, California
Marine Lance Corporal Abraham Simpson, eldest son of Jim and Maria Simpson, formerly of the Fullerton assembly, was killed in action in Fallujah in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, on November 9, 2004. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.
Truly, the respect message enabled Maria to realize her son Abe’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain but that as a man of honor he did the noble thing. This message of Respect partially explains, redeems and dignifies the loss of her son. His death turns into an act of honor rather than just the loss of a Beloved Son. As with Jesus, it is more than a horrible death but a magnanimous offering. It is less about the vice of those who caused his death and more about his virtue in dying.
When you see the American flag this Memorial Day weekend remind yourself of the grace that God has shed on this great land, and remind yourself of those many men and women who have shed their blood for us.