It’s Veteran’s Day today. For many, it is nothing more than a day out of school or work, an extra shopping day, or an “oh my gosh, no mail today!” But, for me, as I mature, this day has more and more meaning.
My mom recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. Naturally, she visited the Pearl Harbor war memorial. In her words it was “eerie”. She felt overwhelmed standing over the wreckage of the Arizona and watched as other visitors, men whom she guessed were veterans, wept as the “relived” that event.
She sent us some of the information available at the site. I was amazed to learn that almost 2,300 people were killed that day. Most of them Navy personnel. Another eleven hundred or so wounded – again a majority of them Navy personnel. These were staggering numbers to me and it moved me to tears as I read a brief accounting of the events on that day.
Last night, on the evening news, they had a “special feature” on Canadian citizens who have spontaneously begun to line up along roadsides and on overpasses, as their fallen soldiers are transported to the military morgue. One mother, who had lost her son to a roadside bomb, recounts the day her son’s body made that trip. On an overpass, in an old rusty pick-up truck, were a man and his son – standing erect and a offering a firm salute as the soldier’s body passed by. It moved her deeply that someone would care that much. Apparently, thousands are continuing to do just that each time a soldier makes that trip. Watching the story moved me to tears.
I’ve shared this before, but I choose to share it again. I can’t do much when it comes to defending our country in a time of war. If they allowed men my age to enlist, I would do it in a heartbeat – then again, it was my “heartbeat” that kept me from service in the first place. Nevertheless, I would be there to put my name on the dotted line. But what I can do is say “THANK YOU” when I have the opportunity. And I do. Wherever I see a soldier in uniform I walk up, shake their hand and say “Thank you for the job you do in defending our freedom.” If I see a Sheriff, a Police officer, a Firefighter, I do the same thing. I walk up, shake their hand and say, “Thank you for the job you do.” It’s not much I know, but it is something.
On our recent flight to Washington, back in August, I did witness this. A military personnel was on our flight. Once we got ready to take off, the flight attendant came up and invited the soldier to sit in an empty seat in first class. It moved me to tears. Such a simple gesture, but so profound in its message.
I suppose I have become a cry baby in some respects. There are many things that move me to tears these days. However, the two things that always prime the pump….Those who serve our country and the Christ who sacrificed his all.
Say “thank you” to a Veteran today!