Joni and Friends Blog

Reflect with Gratitude on Memorial Day

Dawn breaks over the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho, on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13

Every Memorial Day, I am reminded of the many men and women who have served our country. The freedoms we enjoy cost a great deal… So many have sacrificed so much.

My husband Ken and I always make it a practice to thank military personnel whenever we see them in uniform. “God bless you for your service to our country,” we will say. But we don’t just leave it at that. We remember these young men and women long after we’ve parted ways, praying for them and their families, too.

When I say we remember the men and women who have sacrificed for our country, I don’t mean that we remember them in a general sense. No, whenever possible, we remember these individuals by name… and how they are serving. I so appreciate learning their stories and the stories of other generations we continue to honor on Memorial Day… like that of Dominick Mazza, the father of Doug Mazza, who served as the president of Joni and Friends for twenty years. Every time I would wheel into Doug’s office across the hall from mine, I would pass by a beautifully framed print of a World War II B-26 Bomber.

I was spell-bound when Doug described how his dad, Dominick (Master Sergeant and Flight Engineer) barely escaped when his B-26 Bomber was shot down over the English Channel. Dominick’s chance of survival was slim. But at that time local civilians with boats monitored the channel in an effort to rescue soldiers who had to evacuate their planes. Thankfully, Dominick was rescued.

You would think after experiencing such a life-threatening event, Dominick would have taken a back seat. But that was not the case. After this incident, he immediately returned to flying for the 9th Air Corps earning the Bronze Star and Air Medal with four clusters. Serving from 1941 to 1945, he flew all across Europe including multiple sorties on D-Day.

This Memorial Day we reflect with enormous gratitude on the sacrifice of Dominick Mazza and all the men and women who have served our nation, laying down their lives for others. John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Join me in honoring these men and women. And thanks for sharing, to help others remember, too.

Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway

We are passionate about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice and caring for those living with the visible and invisible scars of war. Learn how we are serving servicemen and women through Warrior Getaway.