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The Eyes of a Soldier - Memorial Day 2003

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I've seen those eyes on my father. All of the unspoken horrors he witnessed in combat, his concern for the men under his command, and his love of God and his Country.




From the Sierra Times:


Colonel Dan Special Edition

The Eyes of a Soldier - Memorial Day 2003

By Colonel Dan


As images of real time war came into our homes recently, I looked at those scenes as a soldier whose physical era has passed but whose spiritual link with the troops will never pass. I'm not focused right now on the political issues of that war, but see instead the reality of a much higher plane. I see the most wonderful people on earth, ripe with heroism, and I stand in admiration yet again of the extraordinary dedication found in America's ordinary sons and daughters - dedication to an ideal that emanated from God Himself.


Patriots who bore our nation's struggles throughout our history, wherever in the world that might have been, were reflective of every American soldier. And although many such patriots may never have worn the uniform per se, they had as much of a soldier's heart, spirit, and soul as the hundreds of thousands who did, and it's that heart, spirit, and soul, dedicated to those struggles - not the uniform - that makes one a true American soldier.


I have looked into many a soldier's face during my lifetime, in the flesh and in pictures, in war and peace, baby-faced and bloodied. One thing comes through above all other similarities they may share, and it's that common bond of a soldier's soul - a bond that is clear as life itself. A bond that is reflected, not in the clothes they wear or the weapons they carry, but in their faces, and most certainly in their eyes.


The next time you have an occasion to look at pictures of war from the Revolution, to the War Between the States, from the Spanish American War, to WW I and II, from Korea, to Viet Nam, to the Gulf, Afghanistan, and now Iraq, I ask that you look past the uniforms and the medals, the weapons, and the flags. Look past the horses and caissons, the trucks and tanks. I want you to look into their eyes. Look long and hard into the eyes of a soldier and feel what you see.


The eyes of a soldier reflect not only the struggle of his times, but also the blood of a thousand brothers, and the spirit of God. A God whose spirit calls His children to freedom, and a God who rightly taught us that the greatest sacrifice anyone could make was that of laying down one's life for his friends. A God who also revealed to us in His own holy Word, that the eyes were the windows of the soul, and what you will see in a soldier's eyes is a window into the soul of a warrior created by God Himself; a soul that will command the body be sacrificed because the friend on his left is in need; a soul that will throw life in harm's way because the soldier on his right has fallen; a soul that would rather die than risk failing his brother in any way.


The eyes of a soldier tell a story of dedication to the higher calling which God Himself described, and of passions unique to each soldier's heart; a story of love and passion, of life and death, of brotherhood and blood, of a truth that those who never marched in such boots could feel to the depths reflected in those eyes.


The eyes of a soldier are deep; revealing a heart, spirit and soul dedicated to something approaching the divine, touching upon the intangible when measured by standards the world may never comprehend.


Do the eyes of each and every soldier so reflect such a spirit? Clearly the answer is no because whatever else they are, soldiers are human and therefore are as diverse as the race itself. But among those in that picture somewhere you will find reflected the spirit God has placed in every man, and it won't be in the fancy uniforms, nor will you find it in the shiny sword at his side, or the medals on his chest - you will find it in his eyes.


And when you do find that one pair of eyes that vividly speaks to you, look deeply into them, and reflect upon the message they send, and allow yourself to feel the tug on your heart. What you are feeling spans the ages, and reflects that spirit God has instilled in everyone - a spirit that was always meant to live free, and one willing to sacrifice life itself in the struggle for that freedom and his fellow man.


The solemnity of the sacrifices made by such wonderful Americans throughout the history of our country's struggles is what we honor each Memorial Day - a struggle whose memory is preserved for all time in the eyes of a soldier.


Just the view from my saddle.


The Colonel



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