|Posted on September 27, 2017 at 2:55 PM|
I just returned from a great weekend reunion of men who served in the Army unit known as Dustoff during the Vietnam war. The unit name came from the radio call-sign given to one of the early pioneers of using the helicopter to quickly evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Our reunion, “A Gathering of Rusty Eagles”, was held in Dover, Delaware where members of the Vietnam Dustoff Association were honored at the unveiling of a new plaque beneath their Dustoff helicopter at the Dover Vietnam Memorial. The inscription on the plaque was the Dustoff motto, “So Others May Live”.
Our host for the event was chapter 850 of the Vietnam Veterans of America whose president was one of over 900,000 wounded evacuated in over 450,000 missions during the war. During that time 215 Dustoff crew members died trying to complete their missions making their job one of the most dangerous missions of the war. The State of Delaware, represented by their Governor and members of their House of Representatives, as well as other dignitaries, recognized and honored all who served in Dustoff by saying “Thank you for your service and Welcome Home!”
Although I was deeply moved by and greatly appreciated this event, nothing can erase the memories of those Dustoff missions from my mind. Some are faded by time while others remain as vivid as if they happened only yesterday. Some cause laughter and many bring grief, but all give me a sense of satisfaction knowing that, despite my youthful indiscretions and ignorance, I was once an “angel of mercy” to someone suffering the horrors of war. Seeing a spark of hope in their eyes or a look of relief on the face of the wounded is really all the thanks any of us really needed. The personal satisfaction that comes from risking your own life to help another is the reward in itself. For most of us, “So Others May Live’ became much more than a motto, it became the mission statement of our lives.
Jesus promised this kind of satisfaction to his disciples when he said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The things he was speaking concerned the purpose he left them with in the world when he finished his work on earth. Their mission was to love others the way he does with that same sacrificial love that motivate him through his earthly ministry. In fulfilling our purpose of loving others like Christ we have his joy fulfilled in us that nothing else in the world can match. Our willingness to put aside our own interests and comfort for the sake of serving others, no matter what kind of service that may be, will be rewarded with the fullness of joy.
Not everyone will have the specific purpose of risking their lives in combat so others may live, but all are given the privilege to lay aside our own self-centered concerns to be used of God to minister to the needs of others. Regardless of the specific nature or the intensity of the act of love, there is no greater joy and satisfaction in this world!