How many of you know a veteran? I had an uncle who served in the Korean War and Vietnam, and my great uncle served in World War two and Korea. When I was a little girl, I really didn’t think much about it. It was just what they did. They put on a uniform; they traveled on an airplane and did their job somewhere else. I didn’t understand the risk or the sacrifice.
When I started teaching, I got a close view of what our soldiers sacrifice. I had a kindergarten student, Scotty, whose father served in Project Desert Storm. I held him as he cried and dealt with his father’s absence at five years old. I learned from his mother the strain his absence put on her and the children, the constant fear, wondering if and when he would return home safely. In the past few years I’ve had two close friends serve overseas. One friend left his wife and two children to serve in Kosovo and another left his parents behind to serve at a young age in Iraq. The military had a face then. It was personal. People I loved and cared about were putting their lives on the line for me and my family.
In John 15:13 Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” The men and women of the armed forces do this for each of us every day. While we wake up in the comfort of our homes to the sounds of our loved ones, many of them are waking up in places we’d never imagine sleeping to the sounds of gunfire and explosions. While we’re hugging our children and spouses and saying goodbye for the day, they are clinging to pictures, drawings, emails, and Skype time to be close to theirs.
Take time today to thank a veteran for serving to keep our country safe and pause in prayer for those who are still out there defending our country, our beliefs and our lives. Find out how to send an encouragement card or email to someone serving. Locate military families in your community and lend a hand. Be creative. We need to let our military know that we care for them and support them. It is the very least we can do for all they do for us.