The French preacher Lacordaire once said that the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.
It is the soldier's high calling to the defense of justice and freedom which makes him (or should) so loved. It was a soldier who first spoke the words recalled by the Church during every Mass at Holy Communion: "Lord, I am not worthy to have Thee come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed." (Mt 8:8).
The Breviary, which priests pray daily, praises Judas Machabeus, who refused to surrender to superior enemy forces and died saying: "Far be it from us to do such a thing as to flee from them. If our time has come, let us die bravely for our brethren, and leave no cause to question our honor." (1 Macc 9: 10).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that, "Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common goodof the nation and the maintenance of peace." (2310).
One soldier who served his country selflessly for twenty years was Camille "Joe" Melanson, my father, a non-commissioned officer who served in two wars - the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. See here: http://www.leominsterhigh.com/lhs-military00.htm
During peacetime, he was always accompanied by his loving wife Rita, who, as with other military wives, also sacrificed so much for both country and family.
Joe Melanson passed away on September 19, 2000. My mother has been a widow for nearly fourteen years now. She should be enjoying her remaining years in peace and security. But instead she has been served an eviction notice from her landlord (she sold her home in 2001 to make life easier - or so she thought) simply because she has stood up for her rights. The Notice to Quit was signed by Douglas Pochini, a real estate broker who serves as the Property Manager for Kaliko Estates.
Kaliko Estates, LLC, a landlord management company which owns and operates townhouses in Athol, Massachusetts, has served her with a Notice to Quit because she found it necessary to file complaints with the local Board of Health because of maintenance needs which were not being addressed and because Kaliko Estates was billing her [in violation of Massachusetts law - M.G.L., Chapter 186, Section 22] for water and sewer services without a written rental agreement.
The Athol Board of Health charged Kaliko Estates for various issues such as mold growth over her shower and a toilet which would back up. And they charged Kaliko Estates a second time for billing for water and sewer without a written rental agreement. When my mother asked for the monies back, Mr. Pochini, a truly despicable individual, replied, "I'm not going to refund the monies." She took him to Court and won the monies back. Such was the animus agianst my mother that Kaliko Estates made her go without a working stove for nine months. In order to cook, she found it necessary to purchase a griddle and a steamer. Mr. Pochini also accused her falsely of "pounding on walls" in retaliation for her legitimate complaints - in essence: for wanting to live with some dignity.
And so a military widow, whose husband received a letter of commendation from President George W. Bush which reads: "This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States," is being threatened with eviction by Kaliko Estates and Mr. Douglas Pochini. This company wants to make a military widow homeless.
This is not gratitude for selfless service to the United States of America. This is ingratitude. And it is shameful!
Update: Eviction failed, see here.