Last night, my husband, Chuck, and I went to an event honoring Iwo Jima veterans at the Strategic Air and Space Museum near Ashland, Neb.
Six veterans from the same unit of men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi were at the banquet and program. I interviewed area veterans for a story for Monday's paper. We also had a blurb on our Web site.
Iwo Jima - a tiny South Pacific island - is said to be the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The U.S. suffered more than 26,000 casualties - more than 6,000 men died in combat. The Japanese, who were dug into the island, sustained heavy casualties, too, probably around 21,000.
As I think of these men, I'm reminded of my father, Glenn Lester Real, who was on Tinian in the Mariana Islands during the war.
He fully anticipated being part of an Allied invasion force headed to Japan.
Then the war ended.
My father might not have survived if he had been part of an invasion force. And if he hadn't survived, I wouldn't be around.
Nor would my sons.
Nor would my little grandchild who is due in September.
I'm grateful to the thousands of servicemen who gave their lives during the war to protect our country from cruel dictators bent on shaping the world to fit their evil agendas.
I'm grateful to God for protecting the lives of many other servicemen - including my father.
I'm reminded of Psalm 91 which in part reads: "If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the Lord who is my refuge - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent."
Thank you Lord for protecting the tents of our loved ones who serve in the military!