I pen this note with a troubled heart.  I’m writing this ahead of time so it may publish on Memorial Day, May 31st, 2021.  I have just learned that one of our volunteers at IFC was on a response call where high school children perished.  This news hit me hard.  I immediately felt sorrow for my friend.  I know how hard he works on behalf of others in his job.  He doesn’t do his work for pay or adoration.  He does it because God made him from the ground up for that line of work.

The Parental Consideration

I couldn’t help but have a guttural response on behalf of the parents involved.  I have dear friends that lost a child at age 6 – my daughter’s best friend actually.  My wife and I are proud to count this little girl’s parents among our dearest lifelong friends.  The loss of children can never adequately be understood or conveyed.  My heart and most thoughtful prayers go out to these families during trying times such as these.  …And at the risk of sounding inappropriate, my prayers will continue long after this shock is gone, for that’s the time when the loss can be hardest.  When everyone else thinks sufficient time has passed and you should be back to ‘normal’ the notes of consolement, long hugs, and smiles of solidarity fade and are fewer.  …And that’s when it hurts the most – as if others have forgotten about something of which you can’t and won’t ever be free.  “it’s time to move on,” they say with the best of intentions, yet it can’t be done.  Yes, I feel for the parents of the youth in this accident, deeply.

The Volunteer Consideration

This consideration inspired me to instantly ring up people in my life that have offered service to others and simply thank them out of the blue.  I have a friend who is the local volunteer fire chief and his wife is the volunteer ambulance squad leader.  They devote copious time and effort on behalf of others.  One of my best friends was the fire chief in the same town.  My own Dad was on the volunteer fire and ambulance squad when I was a pup.  Dad did a really good job of masking it when they couldn’t save someone, but I knew it pained him and there was a burden associated with carrying all those experiences.

I gave these ideas serious consideration for the longest time, and then I remembered what weekend it was – Memorial Weekend.  My Dad was in the Army.  My father-in-law was in the Army.  My uncles and aunts were in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.  I have many relatives to thank.

The Military Service Consideration

We decorate the graves of the fallen in battle and our veterans of military service for a specific reason.  Yes, there will be backyard barbeques and it’s a day off work for many.  Those aren’t bad things perse.  However, those particulars aren’t the core of Memorial Day.  We celebrate Memorial Day for all those who raised their hand and said “yes” to service on behalf of others.  Whether those people were pulling triggers or peeling potatoes, they served this great nation and they most certainly are owed our gratitude and respect.  I have the utmost reverence for our past, present, and future service members.

My notions began with my friend’s call out to service and what he experienced, the young with lives cut too short, and the family and friends of all those impacted.  Next, my concerns shifted to friends and family in volunteer service in the many communities nationwide.  Finally, my suppositions evolved into acknowledgment and indebtedness to the departed who served this country.  I offer you this, my friends.  Give this day some serious reflection.  You owe it, as do I.  It is highly likely the reason we’re able to spend time in retrospect today, stems solely from the acts of those men and women whose names are stenciled in granite, marble, limestone, and bronze across this wonderful country.  Remember them.  Their honor made today possible.

In Liberty,

Michael Ware
IFC Chairman