Saturday night, our church hosted a Veteran’s Day event.
There were at least fifty veterans in attendance including half a dozen World War II vets.
To honor them, one of the members of our music team performed the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. (She even had the old timey uniform to go with it.)
The emcee was an eighty-year old, Air Force retired gentlemen—and yes, he still fit into his uniform.
After Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipes, this man gave a very moving explanation of the elements on the small table in front of him that commemorated our POW’s/MIA’s. I had never heard this explanation before (of things like a lemon and salt and a rose) and it was so beautiful.
It was an inspiring, memorable evening giving us all the chance to honor and remember and applaud our vets.
At the Smith house, we honored our veterans by hanging the American flag on our front porch. Since Steve is the son of an Air Force veteran, he has an extra deep layer of appreciation for those who served.
Veteran’s Day also just happened to be the day that Sarah was scheduled to head out the door for an overnight trip to a statewide youth convention.
As I photographed my sweet, sweet girl with the flag flying behind her, I thought of the thousands of young men and women (not much older than she) who have left the front porches of their homes all through the years and all across this country. They have kissed their moms, hugged their dads and have turned their faces toward war, toward danger, toward sacrifice, toward tears, toward service, toward honor.
Thirty-six hours after she left, my little girl returned home, safe, happy and unharmed. Sadly, many of the young men and women in the military who walked down the steps of their own front porches never came home. Or else they returned home with grievous injuries—to body and soul alike.
On Veterans Day 2011, I was reminded all over again that every American lives under the shade of a Freedom Tree—a Tree planted by many thousands of men and women who served, a Tree watered by the blood that was spilled.
And I, for one, am grateful.