We thank God today for all of the veterans who came before us and will come
Frances Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” almost 200 years ago. He
called America the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” That is what
these veterans have fought for.
We are adding to a collection of photos and stories about service people.
This includes stories from some of the first wars of our nation. At this time,
they were poorly trained, furnished their own weapons, and some times, their
uniforms. As I read or listened to these stories, I was touched by the love of
America and their compassion for people of the world. I was teary eyed at the
innocence shown in the eyes of young recruits who joined because of economic
reasons. Some did not have the funds to return to college, or could not find
jobs. Others had a chunk of their normal lives taken out and were sent away from
their families and homes. Then, I remember the people they have become, and I
see their pride as they stand tall and salute the flag as it passes by.
Throughout America’s history our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast
Guardsmen have always answered the call to defend our nation, to aid our friends
and allies and to turn back aggressors. We cannot repay our debt of gratitude to
our American service personnel who died in battle or those who were wounded. We
can thank the 25 million veterans who are still living today.
Two years ago, I attended homecoming for Todd’s National Guard Unit in North
Carolina. They were returning from two years active duty. I am still overcome
with pride remembering their entrance into the armory. It was a group of service
men and women, all ages, all races, all walks of life. They were marching
briskly in, their heads up, very erect and the flags flying over it all. Little
children were waving small flags and you could feel their pride in their family
members. In his remarks, the commanding officer said that almost all in the Unit
would go if called back because they believed in what they were doing. After the
ceremony, soldiers carried small children and diaper bags, instead of weapons.
You could feel the love of humanity, not just Americans.
Sarah was telling me about attending chapel service at Ft. Bragg and the love
of God, America and family that was evident. “America, the Beautiful” was part
of every service. The third verse was most meaningful to her.
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Show your love and appreciation to our veterans this week. Attend the special
services, call them, send them a note and follow their example in showing pride