Hiking the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s trails is to journey back in time, with the soothing rhythm of cascading waters and songs of unseen birds the only sounds punctuating the forest’s tranquil silence. Century old dwellings beg of myriad of questions about their long past inhabitants, and, standing by a cascading waterfall, my mind envisions native Cherokees who once paused here as well, thankful for the Creator Who made it all . . . I am richly blessed!
Some 53,000 souls are etched on the Vietnam Memorial Wall . . . no designation of rank . . . death recognizes no insignias . . . just a generation of men and woman who each gave all. Silently standing before its replica in Knoxville yesterday, I found my childhood friend’s name, Ronald Charles Kinsky.
Childhood quickly morphs into adolescence and, all too soon, high school commencement finds friends parting ways. So it was for Charlie and I. The Vietnam conflict arose, and the draft sent Charlie to the Army. A year later I enlisted in the Marines.
Standing in reverent silence, tears blurred Charlie’s name . . . but for God’s unfathomable sovereignty and amazing grace, my name should be etched on the Wall along with his. Why? Why Charlie, not me?
Eternity alone will answer someday. For now, I can only treasure the memories Charlie and I once shared together, and hope that his name, along with thousands more on the Wall, are forever etched in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Thank you Charlie for the ultimate sacrifice you paid for my freedom . . . thank you Lord for the incomprehensible sacrifice of Your Son that provides a forever with You where love reigns . . . no walls exist . . . and wars have been replaced by “… a peace that passes all understanding”.