Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13
Time spent with chaplains is precious time. A few years ago we shared that precious time with a particular Navy chaplain who gave us a glimpse into his world of responsibility—which includes leading a chapel community, teaching Bible studies, completing administrative and training assignments (to name but a few of a myriad of tasks). . . .and being the notification officer and ministering chaplain to those in a wide circumference around his assigned duty station.
He gave me permission to share a story which he wrote in an article, “Journey of an American hero—Taking Kyle home.” I share it, in reverence, not in detail but in the spirit of this Memorial Day as we honor those who, along with their families and communities, have paid the ultimate price to obtain and secure our freedom.
Chaplain (Commander) Manuel A. Biadog Jr., USN, had the honor of observing and participating as the family and community of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, carried Pfc. Kyle J. Coutu to his final resting place at Exeter Veterans’ Cemetery on February 26, 2010. What I read about Pfc. Coutu in Chaplain Biadog’s account allowed me to picture an all-American boy turned man who served as a Marine with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. “Coutu has faithfully lived the highest core values of his Corps (Honor, Courage and commitment); his religious faith; and his country for which he fought and died. It is the trait of bravery and courage that Coutu lived each and every day in the Marine Corps. He never gave up believing in his family, friends, loved ones, fiancé, his fellow Marines and his homeland . . . .Coutu and 10 other Marines were killed in action during a major combat offensive against the Taliban in Helmand province, Afghanistan.”
Chaplain Biadog recounts: “What stands out vividly in my mind more than anything else and moved me to tears was when I saw countless citizens—young and old—military veterans, state and local police, fire-fighters, teenagers, children and many others lining the streets and highways waving large and small American flags. These patriotic Americans waved the flags and welcomed their hero home.”
On this Memorial Day, what Chaplain Biadog shared reminds us that “we owe tremendous gratitude to all patriots and military veterans—past and present—who were willing to give their todays, in order that we might have our tomorrows. We will always have a continuing remembrance and deepest thanks of their service, along with their surviving families, for the ultimate sacrifices they have made. It will always cost the lives of the best and brightest people, like Coutu, for the price they paid for freedom and liberty. All gave some, some gave all. Coutu gave his all.”
The article ends with the words spoken by Pfc. Peter Lang, childhood schoolmate, fellow Marine, and best friend of Coutu, who escorted his remains home. Chaplain Biadog tells us: “As a final tribute . . . Lang memorized in his mind and heart the Marine Corps Prayer . . . and solemnly recited: ‘Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of thy presence and obedient to thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.
Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions, which I must uphold.
If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.
Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Amen.’”
God helping us, we shall never forget.
Commander Manuel A. Biadog, Jr., “Journey of an American Hero—Taking Kyle Home,” The Globe, Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 18, 2010, p. 10A.
Questions to Share:
1. On Memorial Day is there someone in particular whom you pause to remember? Share that with each other.
2. The words of the Marine Corps prayer are tender and powerful. Repeat that prayer for yourself and your spouse.