Posts Tagged ‘Thank You for Your Service’

Thank You for Your Service to America

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright 2015
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause. President Abraham Lincoln

A recent trip to Fort Indiantown Gap produced a scene I will never forget. This 18,000 acre military post is a National Guard Training Center and the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs. There are several memorials that command one’s attention, appreciation and thought:

The 2nd Brigade 28ID Fallen Warrior Memorial and The Memorial to theCollage 15 FITG_for Article_SM Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge are elegant in design and their impact is poignant.

The F102 Jet Fighter and the EC-103E “Commando Solo” are impressive in size and scope.

For me, the most memorable and symbolic icon is a vintage World War 1 box car. It is protected by a simple shelter very close to the administration building of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

It is known officially as one of the 49 French railroad box cars of the Merci Train. During World War I and II, French box cars like this one carried soldiers into battle. There were no seats, no windows, no toilets, and no sleeping or dining accommodations. There were 40 soldiers in each box car.

In 1947 America volunteers shipped 700 American box cars of relief goods to French citizens who were struggling.

In 1949, the French reciprocated with a Merci Train of 49 box cars filled with more than 52,000 gratitude gifts for Americans.

Collage 15_Foa_SM

As I stood in the shadow of this incredible symbol of friendship, gratitude and honor, I was mesmerized by the beauty, kindness and goodness of the people who organized this effort, and the courageous soldiers who made the most of this box car during their battle to defeat totalitarianism and protect our freedom.

It was a humbling experience, a priceless experience and a poignant experience.

On this Memorial Day, Kitch and I will give thanks for the courage and selfless service of all the men and women who stood up for America in times of great danger from our beginnings during the revolutionar war to those serving in distant lands on this day.

Collage Casualities_sm

We will remember in a special way the 1,794,418 Americans who lost their lives or were injured in six major wars since 1917.

We will recall our Face of America visits to special memorials in California, Illinois and West Point, New York.

We will honor the service of 2d Lt. Emily Perez, an inspirational woman of dignity, class and courage.

And we will recite this beautiful prayer written by Joanna Fuchs for all those who have given their lives so that America can remain a living example of what Dr. Stephen Post called the home of the free and the land of the good.

Veteran’s Day Prayer

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

By Joanna Fuchs

On this Memorial Day, we are deeply grateful for your service to America.

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