Goins reflects on son’s sacrifice during GF Memorial Day service
Green Forest is not immune to loss.
Those were the words of Mayor Charles Reece as he addressed the crowd Monday morning on the Green Forest Square. The city partnered with the Jordan-Davis American Legion Post 162 to hold a Memorial Day service to honor the fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“It is good to see everyone here today honoring our fallen,” Reece said. “I think we all know folks from our town who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s sad, yet they did what they had to do. Green Forest is not immune to having lost soldiers and sailors in various wars.”
He introduced Gold Star father Jim Goins, whose son 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins died in Iraq on Aug. 15, 2004. Goins spoke to the assembly on behalf of his son and those soldiers remembered on Memorial Day.
He said he is thankful to be part of a community that knows the importance of continuing to have a remembrance for those who have sacrificed their lives in service to their country. He said he shows a video of his son in Iraq to his students every year.
“I think for the most part it’s very touching to those who watch it to understand that many of those we remember today were not much older that the students are in high school,” Goins said. “They see that, and I think it makes it a little more real to them.”
As he worked on his address the past week, he said he kept asking himself what he had to say that would mean anything to the men he knows who served in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.
“They have served their country and been on the front lines and have seen brothers who have fallen in service and sacrifice for their country,” Goins said.
He said he realized there’s not really anything he can say to them.
“I began to think that really this assembly is a way for them to remember,” he said. “It’s a way for us to be reminded, but maybe the most important reason for continuing to have this assembly is when I look at the younger generation.”
Goins said he hopes that something said that morning reminds the younger generations of the cost that was paid for the freedom they enjoy.
“Ronald Reagan reminded us years ago that freedom is not passed down through the bloodstream. It is for each generation to fight for in their own way and in their own time,” he said. “We must remember that and we must pass that on to our children and our grandchildren.”
Goins told a story about a Saturday spent with his son Michael watching “Braveheart.” He said it was probably Michael’s favorite movie and that his son had seen it a dozen times. He said a particular battle scene involving William Wallace and the freedom fighters really “stirred him up.”
He said he walked into the kitchen where his wife, Tammy, was.
“I walked up behind her and I said ‘Ya know, I don’t think a man can have any greater glory or greater honor than to die for a cause greater than himself,’ ” Goins said. “I didn’t realize that my 16-year-old son would soon have the opportunity to share that great honor and that great glory.”
He said parents and grandparents should consider taking the younger generations to Washington to see the Arlington Cemetery.
“Let them see the role, the costs, of the liberties and the freedoms they enjoy,” he said.
Goins said we should also be reminded that there are other battles needed to be fought, both literally and figuratively.
After making the comment about a man dying for a cause greater than himself, he said his wife told him there is only one thing greater than that: to live for a cause greater than one’s self.
He said those gathered at the Green Forest Square that morning still have that calling, honor and cause.
“First and foremost, our cause is for the kingdom of God. To live and to battle for the kingdom of God in our lives and in the life of our family community,” Goins said. “But that expands into our neighborhoods, our community, our friends, and our family, and ultimately that expands into our role as citizens of this country. We have a battle to fight to maintain the freedom and the liberty and the opportunities that have been purchased by the blood of those before us. That is our calling as those of us who are still here to enjoy that.”