The Unspeakable Cost of War!

The matter of family history has come up many times during our recent visit with my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, a French citizen. She has been gathering facts and photos on our Breffort family for some time now. Many of these resources are from close family members who are still alive and able to recall their conversations with those who have passed away. Some memories are passed down through oral stories by extended family. And other sources are hand-written government documents that specifically record the dates, settings and names of family. It is often tedious and time consuming to record a family history. It is also painful to consider some of the losses that occurred during times of war.

The Breffort's
Sons: Lucien (left) and André
Mother: Jeanne (center),
Daughter: Mireille (right front)
I did not realize that Monique, Phil and Elizabeth's grandmother, Mireille Breffort, had tragically lost both of her brothers during World War I and that these beloved family members were killed by German gunfire within 18 days of each other. 

2nd Class Soldier, Lucien Jules Charles Léonard Breffort, of the 150th Infantry, died on April 16, 1917 during fierce fighting in the Battle of Sapigneul, a former commune of Cormicy. A monument stands there today to memorialize the event. Lucien was 27 years old. 

His 22 year-old brother, 2nd Lt. André Charles Désiré Breffort, who was in the 128th Regiment, died in Cormicy in the Marne region near Reims, France, on May 4, 1917. Both of these young men died way before their time! 

While it is heartbreaking enough to lose a loved one to war when you have some of the facts, consider how devastating it is when few details are given and the body can not be identified and given a fitting burial! 

This week marked the 100th anniversary (October 25, 1921) when the body of an unnamed American soldier was recovered and returned to the United States to be placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Re-enactors, dressed up like American and French World War I soldiers, joined an honor guard from the U.S. European Command to participate in an impressive commemoration event that was held in Chalons-en-Champagne, France. The vigil and parade were attended by many from the military and civilian communities on both sides of the Atlantic. The mayor of Chalons, Benoist Apparu, summarized the importance of keeping this legacy alive, "We need to celebrate this for the younger generation, so that they do not forget what happened here."

The unspeakable cost of war is too high! There are parallel passages in Isaiah 2:4, Joel 3:12 and Micah 4:3 on the theme of an eschatological era or end-time reality when mankind will turn their weapons into farm tools and "study or learn of war no more." A note from the ESV Study Bible says about Isaiah 2:4, "People of all ages... (have) longings for freedom from war... when no mere human authority, but the Lord Jesus himself shall judge between the nations."  

We should pray for peace! As Jesus taught, the Sons of God must commit to being peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) in our relationships. And we must yearn for and anticipate a future time in history when the Prince of Peace comes, in all His glory, to usher in that complete peace the world has never known! 

John wrote, "He who testifies to all these things says it again: 'I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!' Yes! Come, Master Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20, MSG).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 

Please revisit this earlier blog about the American Cemetery in Normandy...


  1. Our world hs always been at war. Peace will only come when Jesus comes back. Praying for peace.


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