Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
If you say "The Lord is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:9-11)
With Memorial Day almost upon us, my mind and heart turn to those we’ve lost.
As a Blue Star Mother, one of my duties is to serve the family of a fallen soldier and award the Gold Star Banner. I’d like to share my experience at one memorial service I’ll never forget; every time I hear the rumble of a motorcycle, I think of that day...
It was the funeral service of an Army medic, killed by an IED two days after Christmas. He was barely 20 years old and graduated high school in 2010 with my middle son.
While none of us were looking forward to the service, our anxiety was increased by advance knowledge of a planned protest by a group that had announced it would be present.
The mindset of people who think they are doing anything productive by harassing families struck by tragedy is beyond me. I know, no matter whom they claim to represent, they are nothing more than ignorant hate-mongers. But my heart ached at the thought of this brave family enduring anything additional on this day.
Then we found out the Patriot Guard would be on duty.
This amazing organization, with chapters around the country, stands as a wall of avenging angels between families and those who might seek to harm them.
Outside the church, they surrounded the mourners, standing at attention and shielding them from all uninvited interlopers. Their respectful silence said it all. These men and women travel hundreds of miles to show the respect of a grateful nation... and the provision of God.
Inside the church I listened with one ear to the moving service, the other straining to catch any sounds of the protestors. I prayed that nothing would interrupt the tribute to a brave man. As the service progressed I began to relax, nothing from the outside penetrating the sanctuary.
Then I began to hear–or more accurately feel–a deep rumbling roar. It was an almost inaudible hum, a vibration that seemed to ebb and flow. As I strained to identify the source of the noise, it suddenly hit me: It was the sound of a thousand motorcycle engines, their owners revving the motors to cover any possible noises of disrespect.
I smiled to myself. God had set his angels to guard around those who were grieving. And in those engines, I heard the voice of God daring anyone to protest the sacrifice of this young soldier.
Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s first book for those with a loved one who serves. Look for her newest book for military families debuting summer of 2015: While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with a Loved One in the Military. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.