I love Memorial Day because of my Dad. His name is John T. Herchert and people who know him call him JT. My dad was in the army reserve and served his country as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war. His group was called, The Dark Horse.
My Dad shares memories of "his" war in bits and pieces here and there. Sometimes, they are just to painful to recount...Like the ones of fallen soldiers that he courageously picked up during very dangerous moments, flying straight into battle and watching friends and fellow soldiers die right before his eyes. It's hard to even hear him tell these stories—and I can't image having them alive inside my being, but live they do...Inside my dad and all the veterans all over the world.
My dad is in contact with many Vietnam vets that he considers his brothers, regardless of whether he knew them personally during the war or not, and this is something that I love about Vets...They are bonded by experience—their experience, yet, somehow they are all the same. They share their stories with one another, recounting the play by plays, so they don't die and disappear, because what would it all mean, if they didn't have their stories to share?
So today, I look at my flag knowing that those stars and stripes shine a little brighter in remembrance of all who fought and who are fighting still to keep us safe. I'm humbled by their stories, their truths.
Thank you Dad for learning to fly, for being brave enough to go into battle and for constantly reminding us why we are free.
A good friend of mine, Ben Peterson has started a non-profit, Engage Your Destiny where he empowers veterans by having them share their stories. He is doing incredible work, led by God. His mission is to bring life, hope and healing to our heroes by giving them a platform to tell their stories.