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September Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Capt. Melissa Benedict, 169th Fighter Wing chaplain, August 15, 2021 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Melissa Benedict, 169th Fighter Wing chaplain, August 15, 2021 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Editor's Note: Chaplain Benedict is the newest member of the 169th Fighter Wing Ministry Team

Do you have moments in your life you can recall vividly?  Maybe it was the moment you graduated basic training. All of those hours of sweat, determination, pain, and yelling.  All those early mornings and late evenings, the marching, the formation, the "Yes Ma'am" "Yes Sir", the pushups and sits ups and even possibly throwing up. It was finally all worth it as you marched across the field and were announced as an official part of the military. In that moment do you remember those feelings of accomplishment, achievement, success, and survival?  

Maybe you can remember the moment you walked across a high school or college stage and received a diploma. The rows of graduation caps, family sitting in the stands cheering you on, an endless sea of names and finally the moment they called yours. You walk across the stage and shake the hand of some official person and they hand you your hard-earned diploma. You did it. All those late nights of studying, the hours of classes, research, reports, essays, and exams. But finally you hold the item you've worked so hard for in your hand. 

Maybe it's your wedding day, your return from deployment, the day you took your oath, the moment you held your first child. Close your eyes, can you remember any of these moments vividly. Memories can be a powerful tool. They can propel us in times of stress and discord to remember the good. If your once precious two-year-old is now your sassy ten-year-old, the memory of those sweet snuggles, those first "I wuv you", the tucking in at night, and hugs in the morning. All of those memories can help us give more grace and compassion in moments of stress and irritation. If you've hit a rough season with your spouse, maybe life is a bit more hectic or you're walking through major changes, those memories of falling in love, their smile, their laugh, the moment they walked down the aisle, can keep you anchored and committed in more stressful seasons. 

This September will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Your first memories of 9/11 are probably a lot like mine, filled with horror, fear, anger, shock, sorrow, and disbelief. Those memories alone are not likely to motivate us to do good. But maybe the memories of the days and weeks after 9/11 will. The memory of America standing as one, united in our fight against terrorism. The memory of men and women rushing to answer the call to serve in our Armed Forces, and the images of Airmen leading the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memory of strangers lending a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. The memory of hundreds of first responders sacrificing their very lives to rescue those trapped in the towers. So many memories of bravery, courage, sacrifice, heroism, fearlessness, patriotism, compassion and strength. These are the memories that can strengthen us, propel us, motivate us to continue the good fight. 

This Saturday September 11th your Swamp Fox chaplain corps team will host a morning of remembrance. A morning to honor those who lost their lives and those who sacrificed their lives to save another. A morning to acknowledge that we will never forget and we will never give up the good fight. That Americans still stand united and ready to face whatever enemy comes our way with courage and sacrifice. Join us at 0700 at the Flag Pole as we remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Your Chaplain Corps can be reached at 803-647-8265.