I’m a sucker for anything military. Let me hear a few strains of Stars and Stripes Forever played by a really good marching band and it’s an instant lump in my throat. Present the colors while playing taps and that’s it, kleenex time. The fact that someone would willingly put their life on the line for my freedom and not even hesitate to do so instills in me a sense of gratitude I can never properly express.
My Mom and Dad had a part that. She told me stories of when she was a young girl during WWII and my Uncle enlisted. She told me how they had always bickered and fought just like any siblings growing up, but when he got on the train to leave for boot camp and they thought they might never see him again it was a whole other story. Everyone was crying their eyes out. She never forgot that. Thankfully, he did come back.
She told me when the young soldiers came through town on the train, she and my Aunt would go out behind the shoe store where they worked and wave to all the boys. Their boss never minded. During shoe rationing time you could only get shoes on Thursdays. My Mom says every week they ran out of certain sizes and they had to dodge flying shoes from irate customers.
Elaine had an Uncle who was shot down and spent time in a concentration camp for years. When he came back, she said he could never seem to get enough food. To watch him eat was to watch someone with a true appreciation for it. He never forgot starving.
It is never very far from my mind that each day there are young men and women, vets who are coming home without arms, legs, hands, feet. For me and my freedom. And they do this without hesitation. How can I ever thank them enough for that?
Tomorrow the first part of my day will be spent in church, thanking God for His ultimate sacrifice, of another Son who went willingly to give His life for the freedom of my soul.
The second part will be spent at the Ballpark where I will help Elaine celebrate her Birthday watching the Diamondbacks play ball and eat a hotdog. I will take part in an American tradition that goes back a long ways. The flag will be waving, and someone will throw out the first pitch, and there may even be a fly over.
I will sing God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and I will feel like a true American. And I will tear up sometime during all that.
In my heart I will give thanks for those who serve in all areas, military, missions, outreach. Committing themselves to the cause of freedom while they lose theirs.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39