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Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering and Honoring

On this final weekend in May, as in every year, our country observes a time of remembrance of our military troops, both past and present. I am filled with awe whenever I spend time with someone who has served our country in time of conflict. Listening to their stories leaves me speechless. 

The phrase All Gave Some, Some Gave All best sums up those who have served to protect and defend this great country. Many have done so at the expense of their families, their futures and their dreams. Sadly, many came home to an ungrateful nation. Many face physical and financial hardships few of us can comprehend. We walk right by them every single day. I see elderly men who proudly wear hats identifying which Navy ship on which they served. Others have pins and buttons signifying their branch of military. You have probably seen license plate frames on cars proudly indicating the driver laid his life on the line for us. 

It is so easy for us as humans, and as Americans, to take the good life for granted. September 11th is so far removed from our consciousness that we complain when we are inconvenienced at airports. Americans who watched planes impale the World Trade Center, killing thousands, have put down their American flags and now carry picket signs in a war of words against their fellow citizens. 

We have forgotten.

This weekend, as you barbeque with friends and family, as you celebrate the unofficial start of summer, as you travel near or far in this great country, remember. Remember that this country exists only because there were men who were willing to lay their lives on the line in order to stand up for their freedom and carve out a new life in a new, undeveloped land. Remember that the freedom we enjoy now, the freedom to complain, the freedom to protest, the freedom to disagree, the freedom to worship, the freedom to not worship, the freedom to pursue your inalienable rights bestowed by our Creator, whether you believe in Him or not. 

When you see that veteran in the store, Starbucks, in a restaurant, or anywhere in your journey this weekend, take a moment and thank them. If you have more than a moment, take the time to listen to them. Listen to their stories. Listen to their love of this incredible country. I guarantee you, you will bless them, and you will walk away changed. This country isn't about politics, and certainly not about politicians. It's about the men and women who have put it all on the line for everything you and I enjoy daily. 

May we never forget.