The more I live out the days of my life, the more I grow to appreciate the things within them. I’ve learned to appreciate the colors of the fall, the warmth of a winter coat on a cold day (like the ones we’ve been starting to have in Minot this week), and the therapeutic nature of the world’s most precious puppy (a.k.a. our lil Boone Pruim). Bigger than all of that, I deeply appreciate the joy that exudes from fellowship & solid friendship, the grace and mercy that God grants me on a daily (probably hourly, or maybe even minutely) basis, and the freedom that has been granted to me in this country that so many people around the world don’t know. In light of Thanksgiving this month I’ve been trying to focus a little more on the things I’m thankful for. Cliché? Yeah maybe. But regardless of what holiday is coming up next, or what holiday it is, I would still be thankful for a whole lot.
Today, on Veterans Day, I’m inclined to be extra thoughtful of my appreciation for the men & women who have served and are serving the United States in the military. The people that have defended my honor and fought for my freedom. The people that sacrifice their comfort, their time, and a normal life for something bigger than themselves. Today, these are the people that are being honored & appreciated.
As time has gone by Veterans Day has become more & more personal for me. I have friends that spent years in the Army and others that have made commitments to the Army National Guard. I have friends with family members that have served or are serving in all branches of the military. I have friends that are preparing to serve in the Air Force through ROTC. My cousin Billy served in the Army years ago. My cousin and lifelong best friend Jordi, and her husband Aaron, have recently finished their own journey with the Army and are adjusting back to the civilian world. & it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I began to understand that civilian life and military life really are two different things, because after a four year ROTC commitment through college, Adam began his active duty career as a missileer in the Air Force. Now I’m meeting and living amongst the people that have followed suit of people before them that have chosen a path of life that demands more commitment than most establishments in existence. I foresee my appreciation for these honorable people to increase tremendously as my own life is saturated in military influence and demands.
Just a quick story to share with you: This year there are many restaurants and companies that are honoring those who have served or are serving in the military with special offers. This morning we took hold of this opportunity and went to Denny’s to receive free Grand Slams. The place was packed with veterans, active duty members, and their families from the moment we got there to the moment we left, with no end in sight. Now drinks weren’t included in this special offer so as we and our friends went to the counter to pay, the employees took our receipt and told us that a man that was in the restaurant earlier had purchased a $200 gift card and gave it to them to apply to everyone’s bills stating that he wanted the entirety of their meals to be paid for. This man had already left Denny’s, so I couldn’t give him the hug that was dying to burst from within me. All we could do was repeatedly thank the manager. I don’t know who you are stranger, sir, but you are incredibly kind.
I’ll be the first to say that the United States has its problems. It’s got issues and messiness within it that make me cringe. But today, especially through this one man’s generous act of kindness and hospitality, I’m so grateful for days like today when people choose to honor their neighbors; when we choose to focus on something bigger than ourselves.
So happy Veterans day to the men and women of our country’s armed services – past and present. You are appreciated. You are loved. And today we honor you.