Thursday, November 11, 2010
Veterans Day Musings
Veterans Day has become a good time to stop and think about those who serve or who have served in the military. We read moving tributes to veterans. I think of those in my family who have served.
One of the programs at the Spokane youth conference was a tribute to those serving in the military and a service project of creating cards of thanks from the young men and women to those deployed around the world. When a ROTC chapter from one of the local high schools presented the colors in a dignified manner there was complete silence, respect and reverence in the hall. The speakers, which included a young serviceman, a gold star mother, and a colonel, spoke about the theme of the conference: Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."
Col. Adams had recently returned from Iraq where he worked with senior Iraqi government and military leaders to help train the Iraqi military so they could defend their country. Among the interesting experiences that he shared, he said that regardless of what we may hear or see, there is much gratitude for the young men and women who went over there to give them freedom. One of the Iraqi generals told him, "With our freedom we are always being attacked by sharks trying to take it away. Freedom is the most precious gift we have. The Americans left their families and came half way around the world. Why would they come? They came in the name of their mission, 'Iraqi Freedom.' They came here to give us freedom. They made a difference."
The experience had an impact on those who were there. Said one young man: "I've gained a greater sense of gratitude and respect for the people who serve our country in the military." And a young lady added: "Now on patriotic holidays I will know the meaning of it and remember the troops and all that they go through." I also had the chance to visit there with a Vietnam Vet, who was so overcome with emotion at his service being remembered that he could barely speak. I'm grateful that on November 11 we have the chance to thank those who serve their country, instead of letting it get lost in the activities that come with most three-day weekend holidays. I still cry when I think of the experience.