Tuesday, May 10, 2016

LCG's Dibar Apartian Remembering US Soldiers' Sacrifice (2007)

Back in the July-August 2007 issue of LCG's recruitment magazine the late Dibar Apartian wrote a book discussing the sacrifice of soldiers who die in battle.

He starts by talking about the situation regarding the Iraq War.
"Iraq? Just where is Iraq?" would have been many Americans' question before September 11, 2001. Very few would have been able to identify Iraq's capital, Baghdad. Today, after the U.S.-led coalition invasion, both Iraq and Baghdad are part of our daily vocabulary—along with the constant tragic reports of death and destruction. Who would have thought that four years later, as of June 1, 2007, more than 3,470 American soldiers would have given their lives for a purpose many did not understand—and that most Americans do not understand today. Sadly enough, to that figure must be added more than 25,200 young American soldiers who were once healthy and strong, filled with hope and dreams for a future they will never have, and are now on the list of the wounded—most of them for life.
Apartian mentions that he was not born a citizen of the United States but he states that he shares the same patriotism for the United States.
I was not born a U.S. citizen. I acquired my citizenship after my immigration nearly five decades ago. I counted it then—as I still do—a great privilege and blessing to be an American. "The United States is the melting pot where people of all nations form one nation," I was told when I passed the test for my citizenship. Today, with the constant degeneration of our culture and the degrading of our values, that saying is hardly true. The melting pot is not melting anymore. In many ways, we are divided among ourselves.
Apartian mentions how moved he was when visiting a cemetery of US soldiers who died fighting to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.
Nearly 20 years ago—in April 1988—I returned to Europe as an editor of the Plain Truth magazine, and visited one of those cemeteries, located in Saint-Avold, France, not far from Germany. The article I wrote then about my visit was titled, "Did They Die in Vain?" That question remains as meaningful today as it was then, and to this day, I can hardly control my emotions when thinking of the immense sacrifice those American soldiers made.

Only the dull fall of a light rain broke the silence at the American cemetery at Saint-Avold in northern France, as I stood on top of the main stairway of the Memorial Building.

The cemetery grounds cover 113.5 acres and contain 10,489 headstones—nearly all in the shape of a cross, except for 200 that are in the form of the traditional Star of David, for the dead who belonged to the Jewish faith. 
The grave area consists of nine plots laid out about the axis of a symmetrical pattern divided by carved paths. The headstones, made of white Italian marble, are set in straight lines in each of the plots. 
What a moving and imposing sight!
Of course many are affected by wars. But joining LCG and sending three tithes and extra offerings to them will not solve any of those problems.

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