Sixty-eight years ago a young Marine was stationed on a tiny island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean preparing for an invasion that unbeknownst to him, would become a pivotal battle of the war in the Pacific.
Neither he nor his fellow Marines knew exactly what they would be up against, just that the enemy was determined to capture this strategic location to use as a stepping stone to further their advance against them. They did know that they would be outnumbered in an unimaginable way, but if you know anything at all about United States Marines, you will know and understand that this did nothing except to deepen their resolve to stand their ground.
Each and every one of them was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for their fellow Marine.
Semper Fidelis is Latin for Always Faithful, and it was adopted as the official motto of the United States Marine Corps in 1883. But it is so much more than just an empty saying that really carries no meaning; to the Marine it is a code to live by. The United States Marine is prepared to lay down his or her life each and every day for their country and their comrade.
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
The above scripture was spoken by Jesus to his disciples. Jesus knew that he would soon be demonstrating his love for us by laying down his life on the cross; his followers could not have possibly understood this at the time, but they would understand it later.
Jesus paid the price for our sin by showing his great love for us on the cross. And he then gave us the ultimate hope for salvation over death itself when he was resurrected from the grave. And he extends this hope to all who will die to self and follow him…
If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I implore you to accept this great love that he extends to you.
The battle that I was referring to that occurred sixty-eight years ago would become known as the Battle of Midway, a reference to the name of the tiny island (which is actually two tiny islands) out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is so named because it is located about halfway, or mid-way between the United States and Japan. Midway Island was a strategic refueling point for the Pacific fleet based out of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. The Japanese, however, wanted it to use as a staging location to launch attacks on the U.S. fleet.
Ultimately, through a unique combination of Naval Intelligence, skill of the Naval aviators (pilots), determination of the Navy commanders, and what some would call “luck”, that I call the providence of a Sovereign God, the Japanese fleet was decisively defeated resulting in the loss of four of their front line carriers. When that happened their invasion force was compelled to withdraw.
And through it all, the small force of determined and fearless United States Marines held their ground, fiercely defending the island of Midway and their fellow Marine…
And the young Marine stationed out there that day, along with thousand of his fellow Marines, was PFC Grover Cleveland (G.C.) Fennell. To his friends he was called “Mike”, but to my two sons he was their Paw-Paw.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Now, just as it was sixty-eight years ago, and even before that, the United States soldier is prepared to pay the ultimate price, to make that ultimate sacrifice…
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow, don’t just let it be a day to be glad that you don’t have to go to work, or just a day to go to the beach or visit the mountains… take the time to remember the United States soldier that willingly showed their “greater love” and made it possible for us to live in a free nation that is “under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Take the time to thank a soldier, either current or past for their service to this country.
Thank you Paw-Paw… I miss you terribly… I could never have asked for a finer father-in-law. And
Semper Fi, Marine… Ooh-rah!