Honor Veterans Nov. 11th, Honor our Troops Now
Riding in my car the other day, we had stopped at a red light. From my passenger-side window, I could see the car next to us was covered with paint and writing. Natural curiosity led me to begin reading the large colored letters. No sooner did I read the first couple of letters, when I noticed that the driver of the car, a middle-aged woman, was waving frantically to me and pointing to the person in her passenger seat. I quickly finished reading the side of her car just in time to realize that the person seated next to her was indeed the subject of the painted message.
It turns out that the writing was a celebratory announcement. It read, "USMC COMBAT SOLDIER. HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN!!!" I immediately understood that the driver was pointing to a young man in his dress "blues" uniform. I looked at him and then saw he too was waving cheerfully to me.
This brief exchange at a traffic light, suddenly transported me from my daily routine into another reality-- much larger and perhaps more substantial than my own. Subconsciously, in the few seconds that remained before the light changed, I managed to wave back and mouth the words, "Thank you." Then we drove off ending the encounter as quickly as it had begun.
My immediate proceeding thoughts were to realize that this woman had just returned from the airport. That her time of incredible sacrifice had just now ended with her son being back home. I had begun to consider how his life had been spared and how the duration of his enlistment had brought this mother to her present joy and gratitude for his safe return. And it seems that I, for whatever reason, had been able to share in their triumphal experience.
So I started to think... how long must this woman have waited for such a moment-- not knowing if she would ever see her son again? Looking at that gentleman sitting tall in his dark blue Marines' uniform with his white gloved hand waving to me-- the irony was almost too much for me to bear. He was waving at me-- this man who had daily laid his life on the line to protect, to serve, and to honor his country; who had sacrificed all, forsaking everything he had known; who had endured the difficulties of combat in an undesirable region, all the while shouldering the burden of an unpopular war from some of his own countrymen.
In turn, I managed to utter "Thank you."--- Yet these two simple words can hardly express the depth of my gratitude for the sacrifices of the military and their families.
Appropriately, a recent news headline reads... The Blessings Banner Launches to Post Free Messages to Our Troops to Thank Them for Their Service
"The Blessings Banner is a new web site created to thank members of our armed services serving far away from home by providing users with the chance to post a message to them for free. It is available to anyone with Web access. Visitors to the site can both post and read the messages to the troops. The troops also will be able to read the messages online. Eventually, the postings will be printed onto a banner and delivered to the troops overseas."
As we celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11th, let us always remember to appreciate our Veterans for their awesome sacrifice and service to our country. Let us also take a moment to express our appreciation to those who are currently serving. Our military troops at this very instant desperately need to feel encouraged and appreciated.
Truthfully, my traffic light event made it all the more clear that the time and energy it would take to utter (or type) a "thank you" is of the minutest effort, and one that is so utterly incomparable to the sacrifice being made by countless members of our military each and every day.