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A Sacred and Patriotic Duty

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
May 28, 2022 12:06 pm

A Sacred and Patriotic Duty

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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May 28, 2022 12:06 pm

I asked Chaplain (Lt. Colonel) Michael Frazier, US Army, Ret. to join me for this special Memorial Day edition of Hope for the Caregiver. As the son of a navy chaplain myself, I remain deeply moved by the rich history of Chaplains in the armed forces of the United States. In the opening monologue, I discuss a Memorial moment in scripture that continues to stir my heart, and then Chaplain Frazier shares insights, history, and poignant experiences from his military career. I encourage you to share this powerful episode with as many as you can. 

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This is Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregiver, and we're so glad that you're with us. If you want to be a part of the program, go to There's a little form right there that you can fill out. Send me a comment, question, whatever's on your heart.

Just let me know. It'll come directly to me, and we'll be glad to talk about this issue on the program. And if you want us to even call you from the program, we'll be glad to do that as well. And while you're there, look around at all the things that we offer caregivers. The podcast is free. We are the largest podcast for family caregivers out there, and hope you'll take advantage of that. A lot of stuff that you can listen to, you can search by subject. Whatever you're facing, you're struggling with, chances are we've covered it. And there's at least a subject matter, and we'll be happy to cover it even more if you want to. So just please let us know.

Books, music, all kinds of things are out there at, and we hope you'll take advantage of it. This is Memorial Day weekend, and I wanted to bring a special focus on this holiday that is very much woven into the American DNA now. It's a time where we stop and honor those who never took off the uniform, so to speak. They were either killed in combat or in service, succumbed to wounds from service-related injuries, whether through combat and others. And these were active duty individuals who paid the ultimate price. Armed Services Day, or days when we honor those who are in active duty, Veterans Day is when we honor those who hung up the uniform. Memorial Day is the day we honor those who never took off the uniform.

And I have a special guest that will be joining me here later on in the program, and we're going to talk about this and the great history of this and why this is important to us as caregivers, why this is important to us as Americans. But I want to start off with God's view of Memorial Day in scripture. And there's a particular passage, some of you may have heard me talk about this before, but it bears repeating. There's a one sentence that just jumped out at me. You ever had that in scripture when you see just one sentence that just jumps out at you? And for me, it was in Matthew chapter one, verse six, and it's the genealogy of Jesus. And he's talking about all the history of these individuals who we all know, very famous people, some we don't know, but it goes all the way back to Abraham and the genealogy of Jesus through this. And it gets to Jesse, the father of King David. And then it says, David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife. Uriah is the only individual mentioned in that genealogy that was not blood related to Jesus. And yet God saw fit to include him, Uriah, in the most important genealogy ever recorded.

Now think about that. Do you know what happened to Uriah? David was supposed to be out in battle with the other kings in the spring when the kings went out to battle, it said. And it didn't go. Sometimes rulers and political leaders advocate their responsibility and use their armies like puppets. I know we know nothing about that in this country, right?

Does sarcasm translate well over radio? And King David should have been out there, but he wasn't. Oh, had he been in battle, because sometimes the safest place to be is in battle, because that's where he should have been.

But he wasn't. And he saw Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, and she was bathing. And he said, I'm king, why not?

And he summoned her to the palace. Took a lot of forethought. He had to act on this.

You don't just jump off this platform. He acted on it, planned it, sent somebody after. She came up there and he got her pregnant. So Uriah, he called him, was home from the battlefield and he wanted to go home and sleep with his wife so that he would get her pregnant and then he could be scot-free. And Uriah wouldn't do it.

He was an amazing soldier. Even though the king got him drunk, he slept outside his door on the floor. And David then went to the horrific decision. And he said to Uriah, I'm going to go home. And David then went to the horrific decision of sending a note to the general saying, put Uriah in the heat of the battle.

Put him up front. And he did. And Uriah was killed. And David ended up marrying Bathsheba, thought he got away with it. Scripture says that God saw this and he was not pleased.

And you know the rest of the story of what happened. Nathan the prophet comes to David and says that famous line, thou art the man. And if you don't know it, go back and take a look at it and read it and just spend some time in 1 and 2 Samuel and you'll see how a lot of things unfolded and you could tie a lot of it back to this particular event.

I want to talk about Uriah. He never took off the uniform. He faithfully served.

Even though his king did a very wicked thing, did several very wicked things and plotted and manipulated. We have a lot of service men and women right now who oftentimes are at the mercy of a political leader who may not have their best interest in mind. And they serve because that's what soldiers do. They serve. And I've had the privilege of knowing a lot of military personnel.

I come from a military family and duty on our country. These are things that mean something even when the king, even when the ruler forgets it or disregards it or doesn't even care. But God saw this and God did not forget. And here we are in the genealogy of Jesus that Matthew is writing under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. And God saw fit to include this man's name. God didn't forget. And I would suggest to you and say to you based on the authority of scripture that I see, he doesn't forget anything. He doesn't forget anything that you go through. He sees the injustices and this week has been filled with them.

I don't know how this works out. I really don't. I don't know how his economy works when you see such great sorrow and such injustice and such pain and such suffering and such wickedness and such evil. I don't understand a lot of these things and how God is going to work through this. But I do know and I'm encouraged when I see scriptures like this that he doesn't forget.

And it's not going to be on our time frame and not going to be certainly the way we want it done. But he works through all things and we can trust him because he has saved us from a far greater evil than anything we could possibly wrap our minds around. And he's redeeming all of these things. And when we have a story like this with Uriah who was so poorly treated, even though he served faithfully, it breaks our heart. When we see what we saw in Texas, our hearts are just ripped apart. When we see the brokenness of this world, it's very difficult for us to wrap our minds around how God can weave anything good out of this. But I will tell you that he does. And maybe this Memorial Day weekend will be a time for us to come together and pause in united respect and recognizing that we do serve a God that is sovereign over all of these things, even particularly especially when they seem incomprehensibly wrong and evil.

Because the cross shows his answer to that wrong and evil once and for all. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg. That is the Navy hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save. I led off with that one, my father, longtime Navy chaplain. And that hymn remains very important to him. And it's a beautiful hymn. That's an arrangement that Hans Zimmer, famous movie composer, did of that for a movie that some of you may have seen called Crimson Tide about a submarine with Denzel, Washington.

And it was a tough scene. And he did that hymn. It's one of the best versions of that hymn I've ever heard recorded.

And so I'm very grateful to be able to play that here. Speaking of chaplains, I wanted to introduce to you a friend of mine that I had on for this show today, for Memorial Day. And his name is Chaplain, he's retired, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Frazier. We've been longtime friends. And I think there's not a week that goes by that he and I don't talk and have lengthy conversations. And I felt like it would be appropriate to have him come and share his thoughts, his insights, his heart, and his journey as a chaplain. He also serves as a caregiver.

He's run the gamut with it. And also, one of the things I'm concerned about in our country is that we've lost a sense of history. We've lost our identity. We're so busy living in this spasticness that we have that we've lost the strength of our history that helps us understand how we got here. Winston Churchill used to say, the further you look back, the further forward you can see. And we have an entire generation now that doesn't want to look back.

They want to just erase and destroy and break down. And so today we pause for a time to just reflect on some things. So, Michael, I appreciate you being here with us today. If you'll pardon me, I won't call you Lieutenant Colonel or Chaplain. I'll just call you Michael.

Please refer to me as Michael. That's fine. Thank you. Well, welcome.

Welcome to this program. This is a special Memorial Day event, and our country is reeling from more tragedy, more heartbreak. But before we get into a lot of these things, can you give us a little background on this holiday? Why it's important to us nationally? What's the significance of it?

And as an Army Chaplain, some of your insights as well. The Memorial Day itself was born through the conflict of the Civil War, Civil War, when the states that had most of the people who were volunteers, some were scripted, the states were receiving back, so many war did. And originally, it wasn't a national holiday, but something that was recognized by the states themselves and celebrated in various ways. It was proclaimed by a general in the Union Army on May 5th of 1868 to honor the dead in a special way called a National Declaration Day. And it was that both sides of North and South in that conflict participated in the National Declaration Day to honor those who had fallen and were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

And they would decorate the headstones with banners, colorful banners, and flowers. And as the years rolled by, that became a national remembrance, and in 1971, it was officially recognized by the United States Congress to be observed in all the states. And in December of 2000, surprisingly, that it took this long for it to be recognized in this way to add that Americans would pause on that day, the last Monday in May, at 3 p.m. Probably not many of us recognize that it was at 3 p.m. that Americans were asked to pause voluntarily and individually for a moment of silence and respect and remembrance of all those who have given their lives and never came back from the battlefield to rejoin their families.

And then with the listening of Taps. So that's how Memorial Day began to be celebrated as a holiday, and for most of us, it's become a three- or four-day weekend for us in the military. We usually and typically would have the Friday before as a day off, and we would have the Friday before as a day off from our duties, and then would return to duty after Memorial Day on the Tuesday following.

Well, it's become the unofficial launch of summer. We have race cars, we have cookouts and all that kind of stuff, but it is rare that we find the collective conscience of our country now united in—well, it's rare that we're united in anything. We may have to change our name from the United States to the questionable states of America because we're not united, but we owe it to these who have lost their lives in battle, and those who succumbed to wounds they sustained in battle. Like I said in the first block, this is a holiday for those who—I mean, a Memorial Day event for those who never took off the uniform. And I, as a chaplain—and I've heard the stories from my father, where he would have to go during Vietnam and go to people's homes and let them know that a loved one was fallen.

And it was a very difficult assignment for him. As you know, you're one of the people that have done this. And I want to give you a chance to share that and just talk about that in your own journey. And if we run up against the break, we'll continue it there after the bottom of the hour. But I want you to take us back to what that was like for you as a young chaplain going on those kinds of assignments.

Okay. My walk into the Army Chaplaincy came after a period of time in the civilian life as a professor in the Bible College of Systematic Theology and then into my first pastorate in Petersburg, Virginia. And it was there in Virginia that I became a reserve chaplain and eventually entered into active duty because I felt I needed a little bit more experience on what was required of me as a chaplain because I had been in civilian ministry. And it was at age almost 39 that I entered into military ministry the years prior to that was all civilian. So it was quite a baptism, so to speak, by experience and fire to become a military chaplain. And soon after I entered my first duty station at Port Irvine, California in the deserts north of Barstow, I was assigned the awesome and arresting moment to be with a notification team, which actually the team consisted of an NCO and myself, a NCO is a non-commissioned officer, and myself to notify a family member of a deceased soldier.

In this case it was the woman's husband. And these are things that weren't so much taught at the chaplain's school, but they were talked about because each one is different. So it's much like what you would give to people in your own congregations who've lost loved ones. But in the military it has a little bit more of a significance in that it represents, the notification represents the comfort and grief that the military itself in terms of the secretary of the army or the secretary of the navy or the air force or the marines, commandant of the marines, etc.

to express their sorrow for the loss of that family member's loved one. So it's a national kind of notification as well as a deeply personal notification. It sounds like it feels like the entire weight of the military is there with you when you drive up there. Oh yes.

And that's what it feels like first. And dad expressed some of the same things when he did. And we've got to go to a quick break here. I don't want to interrupt too much here and I want you to give us some history on the chaplaincy here.

I think that's very important in the next segment. This is Lieutenant Colonel retired Michael Frazier, chaplain, but chaplain comes before even the rank. And he's joining us for this special memorial day show that I wanted to be able to bring some of these things to our attention, just to pause for a moment. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is hope for the caregiver. We'll be right back. Welcome back to hope for the caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. That is of course the Marine hymn. And I thought that that arrangement of it was just spectacular and wanted to play for this very special Memorial day show that we're having here to talk about the history of our country. There are so many veterans and family members of veterans and family members of service men and women who were lost in battle and those who succumb to wounds sustained in battle that they were cared for by people in this audience.

And so I wanted to pause for a moment. I'm talking with my longtime friend, chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Frazier. And we're talking about the weight of the United States military when they make a presentation, when they, when they have to go and notify the family that a loved one has fallen in battle. My dad did this for many years when he was a young chaplain in the Navy and in the Atlanta area. And he shares some of that with me over the years. And it was just very difficult things, but it, it, it shaped who he was as a pastor. And in this particular conversation we're having with Michael, Mike, I want, I wanted to ask you that.

I didn't get a chance to ask before we went to the break. How did this shape you as a pastor, as you went to these families? And again, like you said, you had the full weight of the United States army and the, and the people of the United States, you know, metaphorically on your shoulders as you went and you made this notification and, and how, how did this shape you as a pastor? Well, my first experience was that of deep appreciation for our country, because the notification was a determination by our government that no fallen soldier's family would receive the news generically through the media or from any other source, but directly from the unit as closely as possible, that this individual soldier or military personnel was assigned because they recognized the dignity of the individual. And to me, that gave me great sense of honor that it was to speak to these family members.

I can hardly do it without bringing tears my own eyes, because their loved one gave the greatest sacrifice that anyone could be asked to give. That is, our Lord Himself said, greater love has no one than this, than that they lay down their life for their friends. And I think of that way as Americans. As you said earlier, there are many things that divide us. But one thing that unites us is our common heritage as Americans. We have fought wars from the American Revolution down to Afghanistan. And I did account of the total war dead of all of our recorded American losses in all of our wars. They come to 1,264,289 individual lives of Americans who have given themselves for the defense of freedom and the joys of liberty and the fruits of happiness and living in a country that is that peace that we seek to be at peace with the world.

So the government recognizes that great sacrifice of what these people died to preserve. And my first engagement in a notification of the next of kin came quite as a surprise to me. I did not know the individual soldier who had died. But you know for certain, when the military staff car arrives at the family's home, they know if a chaplain walks out, there's bad news. But the notification is to be made within 48 hours by statute.

The Department of Defense sets those standards. And that way, they try to ensure that the notification that the family member has died in combat would not be heard by anybody else except by these notification officers. The notification itself for the NCO or in the case of an officer who has deceased, they might send an officer with the chaplain.

There is a script, and it's to be read to the family member which describes the circumstances of the death of their loved one. Because the military seeks to allow them to know what were the circumstances by which their loved one died. They want them to know. They want them to understand the details because the government recognizes it as part of their grief to know how they died. And then the chaplain follows the staff officer who is responsible to read that notification. And generally, I would start with, I'm sorry for your loss, of course, and express my own personal sorrow with them, that I as a military member to feel their loss, because we serve one another as it were brothers. So I try to make a personal connection with them and then to ask them about their spiritual life. And so many of them have a spiritual background and were able to connect that way.

Others have very little. But I try to reflect, cause them to reflect upon the life that was given by God, and that he was not unaware at the time that they fell. And then offer a prayer and any assistance that I might be able to provide, or the installation might be able to provide, because the Casualty Assistance Office said every military installations are responsible for those personnel and their family members who have died from that installation having been assigned to that installation when they were deceased. So it's a very arresting and sobering moment, but for me is a moment of great privilege because I have the opportunity to pray with and for them to ask God's mercy and blessings of comfort, to know that these service members, their service members did not die in vain, but they died for a cause that they gave themselves over and to even into the last measure. When you get back into the staff car after such an event and head back to the base, what are those rides like for you?

What were those rides like for you? Usually it's at first in silence, and usually it is the notification officer who had to read the script to the family member something like, boy that was tough, or that was really hard, or I've never done anything like that before because for most of them it's their first time, for the Chaplain it's sadly something that's a part of our duties that we regularly and ordinarily face. But for them it's a time of Chaplain help me get through this because I just experienced some trauma myself, so it's often a time of ministering to the notification next of kin, I mean to the one who notified the next of kin, to minister to them. Your pastoral duties don't stop when you leave the house? Yes, it's very much a pastoral experience. Well I know that there's a great history of the Chaplaincy in the military, and in the next block if you don't mind I'd like for you to just unpack that a little bit. Something you mentioned that God saw this, and in the first block I talked about Uriah, and that's one of the most gripping sentences in scripture to me, is that Uriah was mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. He was a soldier who was faithful, who never took off the uniform, he fought faithfully, did what he was told, and he served faithfully, and he was at the mercy of great wickedness that David did to him, and yet God saw fit to memorialize him in the greatest genealogy ever written, which is that of Jesus. And I thought that was such a, it caused me to pause when I read it to see how God remembered this man who fought in battle and died.

It is both patriotic and sacred. Indeed it is. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back. So so Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg. That is the army hymn, God of our fathers. We went to the break on the last segment with the Air Force hymn, which is also the tune used for O Master Let Me Walk with Thee.

We also did the Navy hymn earlier and then the Marine hymn. We're talking with Chaplain Michael Frazier, retired U.S. Army, Lieutenant Colonel. We were talking about the sacred and patriotic duty of notifying the next of kin, which chaplains in the military have to do, and it is a, like you said, a sacred and patriotic duty. I also wanted you to spend a little bit of time, and the brief amount of time we have left of the history of the chaplaincy, because there's something about the chaplaincy of the army that people may not know, and I thought you might want to share that with us. The Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress recognized the standing up of a chaplain corps for the army prior to the establishment of the United States Army, and it was the recognition that soldiers are going to need to have their First Amendment rights for the freedom of religion protected and recognized. Thus, they stood up the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. They predate any other any other combat organization of the United States.

So I think that's a tremendous and huge recognition of what we stand for as Americans. And when you said that the hymn, O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee, indeed, the words of the hymn that is played at TAPS, which probably anyone who's attended the military funeral recognizes that somber tune of the bugle called TAPS. Well, TAPS didn't originally have lyrics. It was a bugle call, and it was actually for lights out when in the Union Army, it was a time for them to go to sleep because they you generally didn't fight at night. So it was requested that the bugler play a special tune for the fallen before nightfall.

And thus, the bugle call of TAPS, as we know it today, became a reality. But it does have words which were not originally given. The words were given by Daniel Butterfield. And in the lines of the first and the last stanza, Daniel Butterfield, I think, captured for us our nation's dependence upon God, where it begins in the first stanza, day is done, gone is the sun, from the lakes, from the hills, from the skies, and then it finally ends with, all is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Likewise, in the last verse of stanza five, he gives thanks and praise for our days, beneath the sun and beneath the stars, beneath the sky. As we go, this we know, God is nigh. That's the words to TAPS, the official word.

And there are other verses that you can go look up when you look up the word TAPS on a search engine. But these memorial services for the fallen soldiers and service members of our country, the military knows how to fight very well, but they don't know how to comfort one another very well in death. And so they look to their unit chaplains.

And just to give you an idea of what a memorial service is like, if it's on an installation, usually a patriotic band piece would be played, usually of a sacred nature, usually in the chapel, a tribute given by the unit commander or other officers or other enlisted soldiers. But then the most starking thing about it, which just arrested me when I heard it for the first time, the unit sergeant major calls the role of these soldiers' units and maybe start with the fifth or the sixth soldier before the soldier that had died and would say the name of the soldiers very loudly. And he would announce the soldier, specialist, or sergeant, or lieutenant, whatever the name was, and give their last name. But the five and six soldiers that were listed before, they would say, here, sergeant major.

And so it would go on for five or six people. And they would say, here, sergeant major. But then when the name of that soldier who had died, name is called, he would call the rank and the last name, wait for a response, and there was silence. He would call again, this time giving the rank and the first and last name of the soldier, wait for a reply. No one gave it, and there was silence. Then the final time, the soldiers rank, the first, the middle, and the last name, and then a pause for a reply, and yet there is none.

And after about ten seconds, in the vestibule of the chapel, the trumpeter plays, taps. It is the most heart-wrenching and yet heartwarming event that any chaplain can experience and have the privilege to conduct. For these gave their lives. For us.

For you and me. And they willingly did so. Such is the privilege on Memorial Day for so many of us who have served as chaplains to remember the fallen and those of whom we have observed and officiated their own burials. I remember just not long ago I had the privilege and the honor to do the memorial service of one of my wife's uncles. He had served in Vietnam and he got a bronze star for his duty in Vietnam. It's not often that a military chaplain will receive a bronze star because it's usually given in combat, of which he was. He had been in an aid station where the soldiers would come back to receive the immediate care after having been wounded on the battlefield.

And the Vietnamese were shelling their compound. He broke out of the of the bunker and went to help the medics as the soldiers were falling and the rounds and the bullets were flying and helped the medics to bring the wounded back to the aid station. At his funeral service, after he had retired and the Lord brought him to glory at age 85, I think it was, I had the privilege of conducting that military funeral. And one of those things was to recognize him and what he did in service in Vietnam and how he had influenced my life as a military chaplain because he was the one that influenced me to leave the comforts of a civilian ministry and become a military chaplain. And there at his graveside to be privileged to hear the 21 gun salute and the playing of paps and the folding of the flag and the presentation to whom I call my aunt, my wife's aunt, as I saluted them. There is no other kind of replication in the civilian world at a funeral than a military memorial.

There is none like it. And I'm thankful to God for having experienced it. Well, we are most grateful to you for sharing this today.

I know that every listener is dabbing at their eyes right now. And thank you. Thank you very much. Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Michael Frazier, my longtime friend, this is a Memorial Day show that we wanted to do today and to bring to our collective attention the history of our country, the rich tapestry that has been mentioned, the history of our country, the rich tapestry that so many are unaware of or so many are trying to wipe out. But today we wanted to pause for this. I wanted to end with a special performance of the national anthem by my wife, Gracie. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope Caregiver. Thank you for joining us for our special Memorial Day program.

Please. Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the. Or the ramparts we watched. Were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket's red glare.

The bombs bursting in air. Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave. O'er the land of the free. And the home of the brave. O'er the land of the free.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 06:51:23 / 2023-04-12 07:05:31 / 14

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