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Last Full Measure of Devotion

November 12, 2007

American Flag

Today, I participated in the Veteran’s Day activities at my children’s school. The featured speaker had retired from the military following which he became a pastor. His brother had been missing in action since 1944, and last year he received a phone call that his brother had been found and his remains were being shipped home. He spoke of receiving back his personal belongings and participating in a military funeral service for his brother, as well as sharing with us his experiences in the military.

In addition, a gentleman who had been present at Normandy on D-Day spoke briefly. It was obvious that it was still an extremely painful memory for him. I was honored that he shared that pain with us in order that the children might understand what sacrifices had been made, at least in part, on their behalf. It was very touching, and reminded me that as Christ paid for our spiritual freedom with his blood, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have paid a price for the temporal freedoms we enjoy here.

We had field day afterwards and followed this up with the children making cards to send to men and women at Walter Reed. This was so much more meaningful than any Veteran’s Day celebration I had previously participated in, and helped my children understand in a much greater way why we honor those in uniform and those who have served in the past.

We also were privileged to have a member of the Air Force chorus sing for us, and the words to the song moved me. The song, entitled Last Full Measure of Devotion, comes in part from the lines of Abraham Lincoln:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…” President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 1863

You can listen to a version of the song here. The lyrics are as follows:

Last Full Measure of Devotion

In the long and honored history of America
There are names that shine like beacons in the night
The Patriots whose vision gave us meaning
Who kept the lamp of freedom burning bright

In the long and honored history of America
There are those that paid the last and final price
Who were called upon by chance, or desperate circumstance
To make the ultimate sacrifice

A grateful nation bows its head in sorrow
And in thanks for guaranteeing our tomorrow
The last full measure of devotion
That’s what they gave to the cause

The last full measure of devotion
And though they cannot hear our applause
We honor them forever and keep alive their story
Pay tribute to their lives and give them all the glory

The last full measure of devotion
Beyond the call of duty were their deeds
The last full measure of devotion
They gave themselves to serve the greater need

And for those who did survive
And came back home alive
They join in praise of comrades who were slain
And highly resolved, most highly resolved
That these dead shall not have died in vain


2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2007 8:55 am

    I just tagged you with a meme on my Blog!

  2. December 13, 2007 9:34 am

    Hello?! Where art thou?!

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