Remember Our Fallen this Memorial Day

When I first met Kip A. Jacoby, he was a high school student who loved to play the guitar. I was the new minister at the church in Pompano Beach, Florida. The service at the church was traditional and certainly served the older people well; however, if we were going to grow, we had to reach out to a younger generation.

As pastor, I took a great risk and asked Kip if he would help me create a worship team to begin a blended service (a service comprised of traditional and contemporary songs). Without hesitation, he agreed. When I look back at our first time together for worship practice, I can’t help but remember this young man's high standard of respect and honor. One of the young people had been disrespectful to me (he happened to be Kip's best friend). Immediately, and without hesitation, Kip corrected him, saying, "If you are going to be my friend, you will not be disrespectful to the minister." The rest was history.

         Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby served in Company B, 3D Battalion, 160th SOAR, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, and was based in Asadabad, Afghanistan. He was born on September 2, 1983 and sacrificed his life for our freedoms on June 28, 2005. I was given the honor to meet the airplane bringing Kip's body back home and then officiate the service. What a service it was, as fellow soldiers, politicians, family, and friends gathered to honor our fallen brother! Kip is shown in the movie, "Lone Survivor”, as his helicopter was shot down while on a rescue mission. He gave his life to save others. Sound familiar? 

 He is survived by his parents, Stephen and Susan of Pompano Beach, Florida. The highly decorated soldier (and former Boy Scout) is remembered annually at a gathering of friends and family in Pompano Beach. His uncle Chris sees to it that Kip's memory is always in the forefront of the minds of the American people. Thank you, Kip; you are loved and you are missed.

 Major Robert Salisbury, on the other hand, was a Korean war fighter pilot who paid the ultimate price. What is ironic is that Major Salisbury had already been given his "going back home" papers. However, fate had a different story. One of the pilots set to go on the next mission was sick and there was a need for someone to take his place. Major Salisbury volunteered. I remember when I went into the service, my beloved grandfather told me, "never volunteer for anything." Yet, the Major had a sense of honor, respect for service, and a high regard for his fellow fighter pilots; therefore, he volunteered to take the sick pilot’s place. The price was high, as Major Salisbury sacrificed his life for his fellow pilots and for the freedom we are allowed to enjoy.

 And to think that we are living in a day now where we are still having problems with North Korea! The Major's sacrifice meant leaving my dear friend Bob Salisbury without a dad. So many were left orphans because of those willing to give their life for this nation. "Greater love hath no man than this, but to give his life..."

Pastor Hernandez