Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Salute to Veterans

This morning when I woke up, I knew it was Veterans Day. I was aware of it, but that's about the extent of my thoughts early this morning. Then I tore off the page on our "page-a-day" calendar by the phone and it read, "Respectfully acknowledge the price courageous and liberty-loving men and women in uniform today and in the past have paid for our freedom, our opportunities, and our security." It gave me chills!

We have family that have served in the military including my Grandpa, Armando's father, Kristin's father, John's Dad and John's brother as well as several other family members and friends. I even lost a dear childhood and church friend, Dan Amaya, who died while serving in Iraq.

As I headed off to work, several people in the neighborhood were flying their flags. I leave early in the morning, so the streets are quiet. There was something about the peaceful neighborhood this morning and the site of "Old Glory" waving in the wind in many front yards. And then on the radio, I hear Lee Greenwood singing "I'm Proud To Be An American" followed by an unbelievable rendition of the national anthem. By this point, I have tears streaming down my face.

AND THEN, I turned it on to a local Christian radio station and they are interviewing a soldier and his wife. The soldier suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of serving in the military. There's no way I can express how horrible his current life is, although it's getting much better, but it was eye opening! His wife talked about how angry and aggressive he was when he returned because he still had that "fighting" mentality. He talked about the endless tears of guilt he sheds and the severe depression he suffers with because he survived and others didn't and because he got to come home and others are still serving. He said he has constant visual images in his mind of what he saw over there and they are haunting. He talked about how simple things like digging a whole for a tree in the backyard will remind him of horrible things. He also mentioned a time that they were walking through the mall and he heard a distant pop and he immediately fell to the ground thinking it was a gun shot. His whole life has been changed, but he still was so proud and grateful to have served.

I think about the holidays coming up and how blessed John and I are to be able to visit and see both sides of our family. However, I feel for those who haven't seen their family in months or more. I am saddened to think about soldiers not seeing their spouse, children, parents, friends and extended family at the happiest time of the year. Not only are they away from their loved ones, they are fighting for us and going through unimaginable things. I'm at a loss for words.

When we went to a Texas Rangers game over the summer, on 4th of July, they had a pre-game ceremony where almost two-hundred young men and women lined the baseball diamond and were sworn into the United State Air Force. Oh it gave me goosebumps, a lump in my throat and tiny tears in the corners of my eyes. It was touching and made me so proud to be an American!
I guess today was a wake up call. What I complain about seems so petty after what I experienced and heard this morning. I gripe about traffic driving to work and driving home, not enough time in the day, having to get up early, a long to do list, a busy schedule during the holidays, house chores to tend to, projects going undone, a bad hair day, not wanting to workout - you get the idea. We all complain about the most trivial things. I felt so greedy, guilty and selfish after this morning. I have before, but then I fall back into my comfortable life and lose sight of things, taking so much for granted.

So today, I am saluting veterans - the MANY men and women who are now and who have served in the past putting their life on the line for my me and for us, for our freedom. This amazing group of people, past and present, deserve so much more than the simple thanks I can express. There's nothing I could write about that would detail what the military and their families go through from beginning to end. Their sacrifice and their service is a precious gift to all Americans.

There are so many opportunities to help the military and sadly, we don't do it enough. They need Bibles, their families need Christmas gifts and food (and care and help throughout the year for that matter), they can use old cell phones, they deserved to be greeted and appreciated when they fly home, they need encouragement and to know we are rooting for them, they need help transitioning back to normal life and the list goes on. If you can, especially during this holiday season, help them!

The solider on the radio said this verse helped him as he served. Joshua 1:9 "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I salute you all!
Riley

1 comment:

  1. Touching post. And it was me this afternoon complaining about my sewing machine, huh? Wow. I fit into the greedy, guilty, and selfish category too. I wish I had read this earlier to really put it into perspective. I have got to work on prioritizing my concerns and being more thoughtful of those less fortunate than me...be it away from family, without shelter, lack of employment, and so on. Thanks for being the eye-opener I needed today. :) Love you much, Riley!

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