The 108th Armor Battalion took their colors, their personnel and headed for a much deserved rest and to the normalcy of their civilian lives. In about two weeks the great state of Georgia and Alabama will greet them and they will be home, at last. Our prayers go with them.
The 108th has bequeathed to the 125 FA (Strike) a number of things. They have left us with an area of Iraq that is more secure than when they arrived. They have left us with Combat Support Center that is well cared for, comfortable, and relatively secure, and many other blessings. All these things we are aware of, but they have left us with something else. They have left us with a reminder, a reminder of the cost of war.
On the outskirts of CSC Scania there is a new sign. At first glance you won’t notice it as being extraordinary in any way. But, it is an important sign, a reminder to us of a number of important things. This sign names the landing zone as “Fiddlers Green” in honor of the six soldiers of the 108th who lost while serving here in Iraq. These six men gave their lives in the line of duty, serving their country. It weighs upon us to know a bit of their story, remember their sacrifice, and honor their lives. The poem “Fiddlers Green”, although not a Christian poem, alludes to the tension in a soldier’s life between living a godly life and doing our duty.
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green,
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped
Near a good old-time canteen,
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell,
The Infantry are seen,
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marine,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen,
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene,
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen,
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen.
Or in a roaring charge of fierce mêlée
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And go to Fiddlers' Green.
How do you honor those who have gone before us? In what way do we “memorialize” people who have died? It is a question, in my line of work, I see answered in a variety of ways. I see people on Memorial Day place flowers, other times they honor anniversaries, plant tree’s and even give cash gifts. All these are good and worthy things.
However, the best way to honor those who have died, especially soldiers who have died for their country is to “live a well lived life.” There is no greater honor to bestow on another person than to let their life and their sacrifice change you. So, next time you are at work, whether you are soldier or civilian, and your peers are driving you nuts, be patient. Next time you are too busy to help someone in need, take time and just do it. Next time you feel compelled to be selfish in any way, stop and rethink you actions, then give of yourself. The next time you say, “why me.” Say to yourself, “why not me” and do what is right instead of what is easy. The next time you have the urge to be petty, and we all do, rise above the temptation and choose to serve. The next time you catch yourself complaining about anything, remember the sacrifices that have given you the right to voice your opinion.
If you are soldier of the 125 FA (STRIKE) walk out to Fiddler’s Green LZ, read the names, remember to “live a well lived life” and honor the dead. And by the way, there is another who gave his life too. His sacrifice can be remembered in like manner. There is no better way to give glory to our Lord and Savior than to “live a well lived life.”