Who do you stop to pay tribute to on Memorial Day? There is one particular man that I have spent time remembering over the years. That man is my Uncle Lee—formally known as Captain Linus G.K. Chock, US Army.

I have one particular, special memory of my Uncle Lee. In the summer of 1964—when I was all of 8-years-old, my Uncle Lee came to visit our family when we lived in Kansas City, MO. Somewhere in my possession is an old Brownie photograph—anyone here remember a Brownie camera?—that my Uncle Lee took of me in my blue jeans and tee-shirt and Kansas City A’s baseball cap posing like I had just made some sort of heroic, Willie Mays kind of catch.

My Uncle Lee was the youngest of six children and the first in his family to die. Captain Chock flew a single engine, reconnaissance airplane, an O1-E Bird dog. His mission was to report visual sighting of enemy forces while escorting our ground forces through unfriendly terrain.  The official announcement of his death and subsequent, medal award went like this:

Captain Linus G. K. Chock, a pilot with the 183rd Aviation Company, 223rd Combat Aviation Battalion., has been posthumously awarded the nation’s second highest award for valor in combat, the Distinguished Service Cross. On November 29, 1966, Chock was killed when he turned his light reconnaissance aircraft into an attack plane while trying to protect a Vietnamese Army convoy. He was escorting the convoy when a Viet Cong battalion unleashed a vicious attack pinning the convoy troops down so that they could not establish a perimeter. Chock called for supporting artillery and air strikes, but realized that more immediate attention was necessary to save the convoy. Although his aircraft was only armed with four marking rockets, he elected to attack an insurgent strong point and draw fire from the besieged convoy. The enemy position was destroyed on the second pass. On the third pass, aimed at another enemy position, his aircraft was raked by gunfire, mortally wounding him. Chock’s actions enabled the Vietnamese force to maneuver into an organized defense and repel the Viet Cong force.

I was 11-years when we received word that my Uncle had died. I remember lying on may parent’s bed crying that day. I’ve always considered him a hero, someone who put his life on the line in defense of the freedom of another country being assaulted by communism.

In the United States, Memorial Day is that time when we are exhorted to remember those who fought for freedom and liberty. But as a Christian American, I believe that God has called us to a higher standard. In addition to remember those veterans of wars and armed conflicts in American history, let’s also take time to remember those martyrs of the faith whose sacrifice helped to keep God’s Word pure and available to the Gentile; the common man set apart by God for His glory. And, as we stop to remember the Justin Martyr’s, the Polycarp’s, the John Huss’, the William Tyndale’s of Christendom, let us remember that all common good points to the ultimate sacrifice of one, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ, our precious Lord and Savior.

The death of my Uncle Lee alone could not stem the tide of communism. Only the death of Jesus Christ could pay for the sins of God’s elect. One man died so that many could be saved all to the glory of God.