Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Small Step Forward?

"Without thousands of quiet heroes, Americans and Iraqis would lose their lives each day. Blood is in limited and all too often exhaustible supply at combat trauma centers. To ensure that enough blood is available to treat a critically injured patient, the call for blood goes out across the base at a moment's notice. An e-mail goes out simply saying that the Walking Blood Bank is now open for whatever blood type is needed. When the message showing your blood type flashes up on your screen, you get up and walk, run, or even drive from wherever you are on base to donate blood. If people don't respond to this call, there is a strong likelihood that the surgery patient will be in grave danger.

In two tours of duty in Iraq, I have yet to see a Walking Blood Bank that didn't have more donors than needed. The goodness of the spirit of American service members is demonstrated in this time of need. When they show up to donate blood, they have no idea who is receiving their blood. It could be used for a marine or soldier, a member of the Iraqi police or army, an Iraqi civilian, or even an enemy prisoner of war. I've watched people stand in line for a couple of hours during a mass casualty situation in which multiple blood types were needed for Iraqi civilians.

When blood is no longer needed, that message goes out again to all computers. People who are waiting in line are thanked and asked to show up next time, since the people who donated today are not eligible to donate again for six weeks. No one has ever received an award or medal for donating blood to save another person's life. These soldiers expect nothing more than a handshake and the personal satisfaction that they have done their duty to humanity.

Whenever you meet members of the armed forces, shake their hands and thank them. There is a good chance that they have saved a life."   -Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin, CDR, USN

"Gracious God,
You are our God. We are your children.
We are at war, and we seek to do the right thing.
We thank You that yesterday a Muslim man
was operated on by a Jewish surgeon
while a Christian chaplain prayed.
The man receiving surgery was our enemy,
Yet as one of Your children, he received
the very best medical care available.
We ask Your help
as we continue to bring the best of ourselves
and our values to our jobs every day
so that this war might come to a quicker end.
We humbly pray...
-Chaplain McLaughlin

"He hath shewed thee, o man, what is good;
And what doth the Lord require of thee,
But to do justly, and to love mercy,
And to walk humbly with thy God?"
Micah 6:8

I remember hearing stories as a child about people in need of blood in a hospital, yet they did not want to receive any from a Japanese, after our entrance into the great war and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I know that peace will never come to all the nations, unless all nations follow the Prince of Peace...but I think it's good to recognize human kindness when it is practiced, or whatever is the proper name for basic human charity, especially when given to your enemies during wartime. I know human goodness will never become the righteousness of Christ outside of His salvation, but I think it is right to applaud when we see softness in the hearts of men. I'm glad there is still appreciation for LIFE. It would be horrible to live in a world with no sympathy for suffering humanity. Where this "softness" is found, I am sure God can still speak to that heart.

Pray for our military, whether you approve of the methods and motives or not. Pray that God will be close to them when they call out to Him in their desperation. Pray for the chaplains trying to be a spiritual help to them with their questions about life.
Pray for America.

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