My Personal Side
By Craig Hastings
Last Wednesday afternoon I witnessed, as it was happening, a memorable moment that will stay with me for the rest of my days. I was glued to my television, FOX NEWS live, as a military transport plane landed in Honolulu, Hawaii. The plane was carrying fifty-five metal “cases” with the remains of soldiers that the North Korean government claims died sometime between 1950-1953, the years over which the Korean War was fought. The United States military claims nearly 5,300 soldiers remain unaccounted for from this war. Everyone, every country, concedes that it isn’t possible to ever recover and identify everyone missing. Those servicemen that may have died over the water or during horrific explosions, etc. will never be discovered.
For me, this day was history in the making and a must see for every history student whether it be during their middle school years or their high school years forever more. Vice President Mike Pence was sent to Hawaii by President Trump to represent the White House and to speak on the administration’s behalf. As he always does, Vice President Pence delivered and moved the country with his words this day. However, as much as I enjoyed his spoken words, nothing moved my mind more than simply watching these fifty-five metal cases being carried from the plane and into a hanger in full view of any audience watching.
I drifted into my own place in time as I thought about what this day must mean to all of the parents, brothers, sisters, children of, and all other relatives of those missing in action from sixty plus years ago. I thought about the agony and outright suffering these people have endured over all of these years. How many parents of military soldiers missing in North Korea have now passed away themselves never having any closure related to the fate of their children. There was once upon a time in my less mature life that I would have not understood the difference between dying here or dying there. What difference would it mean to anyone because isn’t dying just that–dying?
I wondered as I watched each of the silver cases being carried in if indeed there would be discovered the remains of at least some of the American soldiers missing from that war. Certainly it will be discovered that some of the remains are those of another country and some that may never be identified as anyone who fought in this war. Will we learn that the North Korean government loaded these cases with a bunch of nothing related to the actual remains of any people that were casualties of this war? Maybe. I pray not, because I can only try to imagine the new hope, faith in God, and anxiousness the families of those missing in action must now have renewed to witness this day of Aug. 1, 2018.
We need to think past just the one. Just the one son that never came home from this war or from any other war American soldiers fought and died. We must think how their passing may have affected the entire family tree in the future forever. When these men and women returned home most of them also would have continued on with everyday life in America and had children of their own. Those children could have by now had their own children and these veterans would be proud grandparents. All of these events would have played a role in the entire family tree. How many hundreds memorable moments have been lost to the entire family with the passing of just one of their family members? No, absolutely the passing of just one man or woman means so much more than just the one.
As I watched a thought came to me of just how would I move on with my own life if one of my sons had gone to war, say, when I was forty years old. Then three years later that war was over and my son hadn’t yet been accounted for and the only thing I was being told was that my son was missing in action. For the rest of my life, each day, I would worry and pray to God for the discovery of my son either dead or alive but please one or the other! This was the moment when, as I watched these cases being carried into the hanger, that I thought how overwhelmed I would be wondering, praying, crying, that my son’s remains would be in one of these fifty-five cases and he would finally be home! Dying is not just dying!!! It does make a difference where! And one can come home even in death…it matters!
I would want my son’s or sons’ remains, however few, home near their father, with me. Aug. 1, 2018 was an important day for not just those families who may finally have closure but for all of us as Americans. We should all hope and pray for all American children to come home, come home even if in remains only regardless of how few. President Trump and his administration have delivered when no other President has been able for sixty plus years.
I learned CNN nor MSNBC bothered to cover this homecoming. Why? Because they hate Donald Trump. This was one of the most despicable acts of media bias that will ever be witnessed by any of us. I wouldn’t dare turn a cold shoulder away from any President and his/her administrations if they accomplished something of such honor and value to this country like that of negotiating the return of American servicemen/women remains some sixty years later!! Let us all take a moment and pray that these silver “cases” continue to load in North Korea bound for the United States of America! God bless all of our veterans, both living and passed, and in body and spirit! If you watched this day you couldn’t have not felt the spirits! It was a moving moment for sure.
Thank you for the nice tribute to the returning US military personnel. You are correct in many ways: First few in the so called “news” covered such a heart warming and important story and second, you are correct, the hatred for President Trump out weighs his personal efforts to bring home some of America’s fallen. Seeing the remains returned brought to mind my own experience in Vietnam. I was at the Aerial Port center in Phu Cat (Central Highlands) in 1971 and my first day there we had many coffins of fallen US service personnel being returned stateside to their families. You hear of “all gave some, but some gave all”, and you then knew the meaning of giving “your all”. It was and still is the most imbedded memory of my nearly 38 years of service in the USAF, Air National Guard and USAF Reserve. Again thank you for the article.