Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Soldiers of all wars share a unique comradery. In Vietnam we were not fighting for high ideas or against communism. We were fighting for the guy next to us. Our greatest fear in the heat of battle was not being a coward – but letting our buddies down. We watched each other’s back and shared a sacred comradery that trumped everything else. It was a depth of honest, real relationships that could only be forged in the crucible of life and death struggles and mutually shared suffering. It is a special brotherhood that bonds many a veteran who have served in times of war - especially those who passed through the long night of Vietnam.
They were relationships of self-sacrificing love and loyalty which embodied the greatest virtues in humanity. I will always remember those intimate moments when we shared a foxhole at night and talked about how butter melted together with syrup on hot pancakes, what kind of car we would buy when we got home or our favorite song. We laughed and we cried together. We shared our greatest fears and deepest dreams. It was a sacred kinship that many a man found over there and few have experienced since. We will always be “brothers-in-arms”.
But those who have served as fellow soldiers in Christ also share a unique comradery - especially those who have endured many a campaign and many a hardship together as good soldiers of Christ. I still serve with many of these old friends and warriors that I have known for many years who are still fighting the “good fight”. Over the decades many of us have scattered to the four winds, often taken separate paths and fought on many far-flung battlefields, but we are fighting the same war and share many of the same war stories together.
Over the years we have also wept together and laughed together. We have seen marriages and children, sickness and death. We knew each other in our youth and now, many years later, when we’ve grown old and gray. We’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst. We’ve seen each other’s strengths and bore with one another’s weakness during the “dark night of the soul”. We’ve shared the private struggles together and stood shoulder to shoulder through the “winters of discontent” and summers of great triumph. We’ve seen one another’s failures and we’ve seen one another’s victories.
We’ve fought just causes and made timely retreats from foolish skirmishes. We’ve seen true leaders who were servants and those in power who served for their own glory. We’ve seen battles worth fighting for and “frivolous crusades” unworthy of our time. We’ve experience causes that were lost before they began. We seen the truth trampled in the streets and the simple Words of God defeat the darkest foe. We have sometimes shared a foxhole communion and shook our heads in hindsight at the foolish things we once did in His name. Over the years, we’ve made many trips around the proverbial block and been pulled through a knothole backwards more times than we each can remember.
We have seen many come and go on the long march. We’ve seen many along the way drop out and turn back to the comfort of this present world. We’ve seen legions of wounded littering the roadside and we’ve seen the walking wounded who were casualties of abusive leaders and foolish campaigns that had little to do with the “good fight.’ We’ve seen many battles fought over the years. We’ve shared many dangers, toils and snares on that rocky road. We’ve endured hardness many times together but we have kept the faith all these years as we soldier on until that final day of victory. Yes, those who have fought the “good fight” through many battles have seen it all and we too share an unspoken bond as brothers-in-arms.