Remember, Not All the Heroes Come Home

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Towards the end of the Viet Nam war, I was in high school and worked part-time in the Navy Exchange store at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. You might not think of a hospital as a place full of heroes, but let me tell you, NNMC was.

Throughout the time I worked during the war, the thump-thump-thump of rotary blades atop approaching military hospital transports was a sound I heard on a regular basis. Incoming.


By the time the helicopter landed on the heli-pad, several of us had run outside to stand on the pad’s perimeter; our silent presence welcoming the wounded to the hospital.

We watched doctors and nurses hustle gurneys to the helicopter, load the wounded, and rush them inside.

I seriously doubt those wounded warriors knew anyone cared enough to be present when they arrived, praying for them, thanking them, appreciating their sacrifice.

To those of us keeping vigil, it didn’t matter if the soldiers knew we were there, or not. For me what mattered was the fact I made the effort to show my appreciation for their sacrifice.

Among other things available to military personnel and their dependents, of which I was one thanks to my father’s military service, the Medical Center housed a theater where for twenty-five cents you could watch some really awful movies. What a deal. Definitely not first-run, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep Sissy, my girlfriends, and me from showing up.

To get to the theater we walked the hospital corridors. I’m sure you’ve walked through a hospital, so you get the idea, but these corridors were filled with wounded personnel on stretchers, in wheelchairs, or walking the halls; bandaged from one part of their body to the next, making their way to the theater.

These men paid a heavy price for the freedom I enjoyed.

That included the freedom to walk down the same corridors they walked to watch really awful movies for twenty-five cents.

It also included the freedom to walk back down those same corridors and out that hospital at the end of the movie while they made their way back to hospital rooms that became their new normal.

In this country we have days set aside to remember the sacrifices our military and their families made so we can enjoy our hamburgers, watermelon, and pool parties.

Sometimes we might pause and remember those service personnel, or maybe even say, “thank you” on those set-aside holidays. But what if we made it a habit to remember, honor, pray for, and thank our military every day, realizing not all the heroes come home?


On this July 4th, Independence Day here in the States, will you join me in honoring those who give their all, so the rest of us don’t have to?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

When your people go out to fight their enemies along some road on which you send them, your people will pray to you, facing this city which you have chosen and the Temple I have built for you. Then hear in heaven their prayers, and do what is right. 2 Chronicles 6:34-35 (NCV)

I wish you well.


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Independence Day

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  on July 4th in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read, voted on, approved. With that declaration, the Continental Congress announced the thirteen American colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire.

There have been two times when I was not in the United States on July 4th. My first birthday, when we lived in Morocco, Africa, and when I toured Greece. Obviously, the first time I was oblivious, but the second time it was a weird feeling. Don’t know why. Just was. Felt strange not to be putting out the Stars and Stripes, or wearing red, white and blue.

The Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson and approved by committee, justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III. It asserted America had certain natural and legal rights, including the right to revolt.

Among the most famous words of the Declaration are:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

As I mention on my bio page, my dad was a member of the US Navy when I was born in Morocco, on the USAF base near Rabat. Although I was born in Africa, I have a birth certificate issued by the US State Department, which proves I am an American citizen.

While my earthly citizenship is in the United States of America, my eternal citizenship is in Heaven, courtesy of Jesus Christ. I am a joint heir with the King. That’s where my first allegiance lies.

America’s freedom from tyranny was purchased at the price of many lives on both sides of the battlefields that spread out across the thirteen colonies.

Christian’s freedom from the tyranny of sin was purchased at the price of one life on the cross of Calvary.

Jesus Christ is the true Declaration of Independence.

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. Philippians 3:20(MSG)

I wish you well.



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