A Greater Love Hath No Man
When we pay tribute to our fallen service members we honor not only those brave and valiant members that have given the ultimate sacrifice, but those who served honorably in fields not torn or scared by the horrors of warfare. Many of our Sir Knights have taken up the yoke of warfare and service to our country and carried on the valiant and magnanimous traditions of we Christian Knights Templar.
Ours is a country that has heeded the call to battle numerous times when freedom was not at stake here within our shores. We unselfishly gave of our young men's talent, skills, and in some cases, lives for others in distant lands. John 15:13 Christ said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." We, as a Christian nation, have done this in so many, many battlefields across this world. Since our founding, we have fought in some 48 major wars and conflicts. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his 1st inaugural address to our Nation stated: "In the final choice, a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains." The burden of liberty and freedom is not too great a weight to carry as the chains of the oppressor.
There are 24 overseas U.S. Military Cemeteries and 25 Memorials, monuments and markers located around the world to honor the sacrifice, achievements and service which commemorate our war dead, missing in action, and those that fought by their side, surviving to "the telling of the tale," as it were. It is up to we, the living, to give honor and remembrance to our fallen service members. If not for us, the living, their sacrifices would have been in vain. They would have died, and in time, their deaths would have been forgotten, returning to dust, their ashes lost to the sands of time.
The holy mission we must carry on for those who have returned to the Great God in Heaven that made us all, is that we must carry on this sacred trust to pass to the next generation and they to the next generation and they to their children and grandchildren. Our mission, and those that follow in our footsteps is a mission as old as time its self. In the Peloponnesian War, Pericles spoke: "For heroes have the whole earth as their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with it's epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart." We must remember those whose service we must never forget. Remembering them in stone monuments, epic poems, and holy song. Doctor John McCrae, Lieutenant Colonel, in the Canadian Army (1872 -1918) watched in horror as a young friend was killed by a shell burst on May 2, 1915 during the battle in the Ypres salient during WWI, wrote what was probably the most poignant poem of that war: "In Flanders Fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses row on row; That mark our place and in the sky; The Larks, still bravely singing, fly; Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw the sunset glow; Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: to you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die; We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields. Doctor McCrea was killed in the closing months of the war in 1918.
We Christian Knights Templar, first known as the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or the "Templars" came into possession of The City of Jerusalem, and would protect and administer the possession for almost 100 years. These Monks, trained both in scripture and warfare, were the sainted beginnings and tradition of our modern day Knights Templar. Without remembering those knight monks, those who served, those who died in battle, and those who returned home to "tell the tale" our magnanimous order would not exist, our military traditions would not exist and, perhaps, our Nation would not have continued its glorious Christian Traditions.
All those who served in the causes of their Country, sooner or later, must face the final battle. Be that they died in battle with their "boots on" surrounded by their comrades in arms. Or, they lived to a gloriously ripe old age, they all have "that" tale to tell. The end may come long after they could not fit into the uniforms which they served in, with rich reflections among family and friends. The old friends, the battles fought, the service rendered, never fade. In those memories they are forever young, forever faithful, and always of service.
Sir Knight Richard F. Izatt
Amarillo Commandery No. 48
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