Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day

Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 315: Today, I am grateful for Veteran's Day. (Text my journal prompt #11: What holiday are your most grateful for?)

Now, my heart says Christmas.
Love's truth and sacrifice brings me to Easter.
Daily Gratitude has taught me the embrace Thanksgiving.
Friends that are family bring me to the 4th of July.

Today, I am choosing Veteran's Day. 

My great uncles served in WW1. Their graves bear military markers. I was told they died not in battle but from illness brought on by the conditions of war. My father (the reserves) and uncle (Korean War) served. My sister, April,  served as well. Our nephew Robin has served... fell in love with Alaska where he was stationed... and stayed.

They all experienced the brotherhood and sisterhood of basic training and assignments. They didn't choose who would be their leaders or their bunk-mates. Like family. You get what you get. Somehow... if you hear them talk... you discover a kinship not born of blood but of common values and love of home and country. It is the call to serve and protect... and for many... the chance of an education. Training and the need to trust each other is vital. The camaraderie is real.

My identical twin cousins, James & David, still serve. They are both Navy men. They have served in places together and now they are on separate coasts when not out to sea. I am so incredibly humbled that they have made it their careers. We pray for their safety and their wives and sons (yes all boys) when duty calls them far from home. They know the taste of separation, the unknown and the joy of sweet reunions. They are good men and bring honor to our family. 

Another nephew, not military, but actively serving Polk County Florida as a deputy, serves and protects with unknowns every day.  We pray often for his safety. Rob and Nikki (his wife and our niece) are a police officer and a nurse... they witness the best and the worst in human behavior, depending on the day. Many of his fellow officers are Veterans. Military service is often a foot in the door to law enforcement for obvious reasons. Training matters when trouble unfolds. 

The armed forces would prefer volunteers over drafting or mandatory service. Choice is a powerful thing. A few years ago, a friend in law enforcement felt clearly called to military service. It is a choice he wrestled with prayerfully. Adam and his family, too, are often in my prayers. 

Together... in service... it is not about race or religion. They are brothers and sisters in arms. Brothers and sister of the human race under a star spangled banner that has been a symbol of freedom. One of the great perks of my job is to lead the Pledge of Allegiance daily. 

The choice to disrespect the flag... is a slap in the face to the men and women serving to protect us. Yes, they will put their lives on the line... some of them dying... every day so that fellow Americans can behave abhorrently. That... is why we salute them today. 

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 

I love hearing stories of those who pay for the groceries, a cup of coffee or the meal of a service person. Small acts of kindness mean so much. 

Freedom isn't free. To quote a superhero - "With great freedom comes great responsibility."  

Another great quote- "They serve not because they hate what is in front of them... but because they want to protect what they love at home. 

Today, I am grateful for Veteran's Day.

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