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steve chavez2

One of the most visited memorials in Washington, D.C., has nothing to do with a president or other public figure. The Vietnam War Memorial honors the more than 59,000 men and women who lost their lives in that conflict between the years 1955 and 1975.

The reason so many visit the Vietnam War Memorial is because of the list of names recorded there. The Vietnam conflict touched nearly every family in the United States, either directly or indirectly. Those of us of a certain age have friends or family members who went off to war and never returned alive. Their presence is no more, but their memory lingers.

The next few weeks, when most of us will sit down for a meal or attend some holiday celebration, is a good time to thank God for the people in our lives who provide the emotional safety net for life in the twenty-first century. Family members, friends, church members, coworkers, and neighbors are the glue that keep us together spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

There is strength in numbers. "Though one may be overpowered," said the wise man, "two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Eccl. 4:12, NIV). Now, when family and friends are foremost in our minds, let's make some expression of the appreciation we feel. A note, a text, an email, a phone call are good ways of staying in touch and showing appreciation

The Vietnam War Memorial not only honors the lives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, it celebrates the comradeship that members of the military found in serving each other. It's the fellowship we enjoy when we encourage and support one another; not only in this season of giving, but throughout the year.

— Stephen Chavez, Director of Church Relations
    Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International

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