(141) A Veterans Day Special

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

Thank you to all who serve or served our great Nation, giving us freedom, liberty, and joy. The price you paid to bring us these privileges will not be forgotten nor unappreciated. As citizens of the United States of America, we honor you! 

Today’s Golly, Miss Molly Blog is a piece I wrote to my Veteran on Veterans Day ten years ago. It has never been shared with anyone other than William. He granted permission for me to share it with you today.

My Combat Veteran Hung on a Cross 

He was innocent, barefaced—like other boys. Saying goodbye to what was safe, he left for boot camp. Weeks later, he parachuted over Vietnam into the heart of war. While his life was spared, his guts were torn apart. He saw things no man should have seen. He committed authorized atrocities that would scar his life forever.

All that I know of war, I know from the nightmarish screams of my husband. Shattering the night, he yells, “send the tanks to the rear; we’ll move to the flank.” He shivers at my touch, as I whisper, “Honey, you’re safe. It’s okay now.”

My husband, William, is an ordinary war hero. He insists he is no hero at all. “I only did what was necessary to save my skin and my buddies. You just survive.” Like so many others, he fought for our freedom. Some came home from war and still live with the memories of the pain. Some did not come home at all.

Thirty years later, this war hero exploded my textbook understanding of Christ’s death and resurrection into a living masterpiece of meaning.

The canvas is painted with observations from eleven years of marriage. William was an innocent boy of eighteen (as innocent as a teenager can be) when he enlisted. He battled political demons on foreign soil for a cause he did not create. Wounded in war, he carries the scars today—thirty years after Vietnam. His sacrifices remain ignored, having been shunned by war protestors in the sixties and seventies. My husband cherishes me, loves me, and protects me. He would do anything for me. His love is as close to unconditional as I could ever feel from another human being.

The masterpiece takes shape as the observations spring into life, revealing the face of Jesus.

Christ was truly innocent. I Peter 2:22 NIV says, “He committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth.” It is tough enough to imagine innocent boys going into battle for their nation but imagine Christ being willing to go into battle for all of mankind, knowing that He would suffer and die. It wasn’t fair what He endured. He did no wrong. But, He did go and He went willingly.

Jesus suffered. Jesus knew that He had to endure the pain and suffering to save us. After 2,000 years, His scars are still fresh in the record and are ever present in our hearts. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed,” states I Peter 2:24 NIV.

My husband often talks about the humiliation he suffered when he returned from Vietnam, being jeered by war protestors. Although William fights back with a rebel’s attitude, Christ accepted His fate—even though fighting back would have been a natural reaction. “When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” I Peter 2:23 NIV confirms that Christ knew His Father’s will. He did not protest nor did he have an attitude. In fact, His dying words were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34 KJV).”

My earthly husband lavishes his love upon me. He accepts me as I am. If this earthly man loves me so deeply, how much more does my Savior love me? To experience the deepest of human love is but a greeting card of joy compared to what the future will hold when we are reunited with the Lord God. Christ’s sacrifice allowed it all. I Peter 2:25 NIV concludes the passage, “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” Christ Jesus will protect us forever.

Today, on Veteran’s Day, I am watching my husband at this celebration of war veterans. His thinning gray hair blows in the ocean breeze. He taps his foot anxiously even though there is no music. He doesn’t notice the magnificent beauty of the Pacific, framing Catalina Island beyond the surf. Instead, he stares across the horizon into the distant memory of another country thirty years earlier. The twenty-one gun salute shatters the pensive moment. Remembering mortar fire, misery, and death, he weeps inside. His palms and face sweat in the cool air. The bagpipes play. We stand for taps. He weeps for those who died in battle. I weep for my husband.

As we walked home, he shook from the panic attack. Yet he held my arm, insisting that I walk on the inside of the curb. His watchful eye kept vigilance over me as a group of rowdy teenagers pushed by on the sidewalk. Always ready to defend and protect me.

While to the world this man may not be a hero, he is my hero. His love surpasses my understanding. His faithfulness to our marriage is beyond my comprehension. The pain he carries from his service in Vietnam is but a curiosity to me. Yet, I know that I am his bride. I am free because of his sacrifice. And, I know that I am loved.

What we know of Christ’s sacrifice, we are told in I Peter 2:22-25. We know that we are His bride. We are free because of His death on the cross. We know we are loved by God because He gave us His only begotten Son.

My war hero is alive today and I am blessed. I cherish every moment with him.

As Christians, our war hero is also alive today and we are blessed. He endured battles we will never experience because He shields us from them. Our war hero gave His life for all. Jesus Christ is the ultimate combat veteran. 

Veterans’ Day Prayer 

Thank you, God, for your Son

Who died on the cross

And made the ultimate sacrifice

So we might die to sin

And live to righteousness. 

As a nation, we weep today

For those who also sacrificed their lives for us.

We weep for those who do not know You

For those who do not yet know of the cross.

We stand before You as Your people.

 

We pray for the families of those lost in war

For those missing in action—not yet reunited with us.

We pray for those veterans whose scars are buried deep

May they know that their sacrifice

Has given us the freedom to worship You.

 

Thank you, Lord, for this Country and your blessings.

Today as we celebrate our Veterans

May we honor them with Your love

May we cherish our precious gift of freedom.

May we rejoice in this day of liberty and remember

Jesus Christ is our ultimate combat veteran.

Post your Comments: 

Please share your tribute with a Veteran today. Please reply below, if you wish to share your tribute to Veterans. 

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.