Monday, November 14, 2011

The Freedom Tree

Saturday night, our church hosted a Veteran’s Day event.

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There were at least fifty veterans in attendance including half a dozen World War II vets. 

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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.)

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The emcee was an eighty-year old, Air Force retired gentlemen—and yes, he still fit into his uniform.

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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. 

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It was an inspiring, memorable evening giving us all the chance to honor and remember and applaud our vets.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

18 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

nancy said...

What an amazing service that must have been, I'm sure a lot of tears were shed.



nancy irving
toronto, ontario, canada

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story - Thanks for sharing.

Gail Puckett said...

Wonderful post Becky, and thanks for sharing pictures. I work at a college and we had a Veteran's Day celebration on Thursday. It was the first time I had heard of the POW/MIA table and the items on it. It is sombering to remember that there are still some there. I grew up in the sixties and wore a POW bracelet for a POW until I saw his name on the Vietnam wall. It reduced me to tears. I have a brother who served in Vietnam, so, like Steve, I have a special reason to be thankful for having him whole and healthy today.Thank you seems so inadequate to say to our military.

Gail Puckett said...

Wonderful post Becky, and thanks for sharing pictures. I work at a college and we had a Veteran's Day celebration on Thursday. It was the first time I had heard of the POW/MIA table and the items on it. It is sombering to remember that there are still some there. I grew up in the sixties and wore a POW bracelet for a POW until I saw his name on the Vietnam wall. It reduced me to tears. I have a brother who served in Vietnam, so, like Steve, I have a special reason to be thankful for having him whole and healthy today.Thank you seems so inadequate to say to our military.

krueth said...

What a wonderful tribute to the men and women of the armed forces! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures of it all.
Loved seeing that you still have blooming geraniums and how green things are there. Up here in northern MN its BROWN. And WHITE in some places..ha!

Anonymous said...

I just read the elements link. that just had to be so emotional for all the folks at your church when the explanations for each item was explained.

Preschool's church has had a Freedom Sunday Service for the past 17 (I think) years... usually in June...
with readings and anthems/songs tracing our country's heritage in thanksgiving for the sacrifices of our veterans. such a wonderful tribute.

---------

btw, I got a nice note from Victoria today.

mrs pam

Lisa from Georgia said...

What a way to honor those who served! My brother-in-law is a chaplain in the Navy, and he has seen his share of heartbreak for sure. I'm curious. I teach the Vietnam War with my 7th graders. What is the symbolism of those items?

Lisa from Georgia said...

Becky,
I noticed the link after I commented about the story of the elements. I printed it to use in my class. Thanks!

Guerrina In CT said...

Oh, Becky, that looked like an amazing service. Wish I could've been there!

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