Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th!!

(me and jade watching fireworks from the rooftop of the downtown franklin parking garage..her first year to really be able to enjoy them)

Yesterday, I experienced something at church that I have never experienced before, but hope to again. A short video was played during the service that basically portrayed how quickly America has forgotten the bravery and sacrifice that was required of actual people in order for us to have the freedom we enjoy today.It showed young kids who stuck IPODs in their ears rather than listening to the war stories from their showed the tears in the veterans' eyes as they remembered the actual terrors they endured for the sake of freedom. It was extremely moving. But what happened next was what I will remember. After the video ended, the pastor asked all men and women who have ever served in our armed forces to stand and be recognized. Of course everyone else stood and applauded them, as we always do... especially after such a moving video. But then he said, "Now I want the veterans to remain standing...and I want you to look around and remember who they are...and now I want you to go to them and tell them THANK YOU for what they have given, for us." I will say it caught everyone off guard- us and them, but as people slowly stood and began mingling and making their way from one veteran to another, something happened. It was the very first time that I have ever actually gone up to a veteran and said THANK YOU for all of those awful things they had to go that I can be free. It had never hit ME that close to home. As I moved from one person to another- most of them old men, and hugged them and really meant what I said to each one...I realized that most of them, as well as I, had big tears in our eyes. I meant my thank you...and they knew that. They truly felt appreciated. And although mere words could never do justice to what they hve given, it really was a few short moments where everyone in that room connected. I looked around and EVERYONE was boo-hooing, just like me. I thought it was amazing--- the difference it made, instead of just standing and applauding, as we always have...and actually moving past what may be an awkward moment of facing a person you do not know and looking into their eyes with a sincere word of gratitude. But we owe that, at the very least, to these wonderful people. I had never been challenged to do that before, but it meant so much to me...and to them.

How blessed we are to come AFTER those brave men and women who put their own lives on the line, for well as having so many men and women serving us NOW to preserve our freedom. It is no small price. Let us NOT forget. Let us fight, now, to raise a generation who remembers and who is equally committed to protecting this freedom that has cost so much.

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