|My Poppa - A Canadian soldier and his beautiful bride to be!|
I'm not sure exactly what it was that changed my mind... perhaps the fact that both my children wanted to go... perhaps the sight of my grandmother, a veteran herself, donning a poppy and remembering the handsome young soldier who promised to love her forever more than a half century ago... I still can't say , but I'm grateful that something triggered in me to look beyond myself and see the importance of standing with others to say "I remember."
I watched through tears as the soldiers marched into the arena and took their place. So handsome in their uniforms. So disciplined in their stance. As the crowd took their seats, these soldiers continued to stand. While a myriad of wreaths were placed, hymns were sung, speeches were made, there wasn't even so much as a shifting of weight in their ranks. Even in this, the soldiers were giving of themselves so that we could pause and remember.
We sang "O Canada". I wept over the melodic prayer "God, keep our land..." These men were willing to die for me to have the religious freedom to sing those words! My mind wandered to my friend Shannon whose husband Rob spent 18 months away from his wife and tiny son in order to protect our rights and the rights of thousands like us in Afghanistan. What a sacrifice this man made! I watched and observed the cost to his young family. Praise the Lord that he returned home safe! Notice I said "safe" and not "untouched." I thought about a young man named Jordan who survived his injuries thanks to the Hand of the Great Physician. I can't even imagine the call that his beautiful young bride received. How can we possibly express sufficient gratitude to these men or the families of the 116,000 that have said a final goodbye to their beloved soldier? It's impossible... but oh, I'd like to try!
My eyes were rivoted to the young man who, no doubt, has carried a pack for miles on end, and yet so comfortably swung a diaper bag over his shoulder. Another young man used to displaying discipline to the enth degree tenderly correcting a toddler carelessly dropping a toy... I couldn't help smiling as the roar of wrestless little ones got louder and louder. It was the sound of life - the reward of hard-fought battles...
Men and women, real flesh and blood, with families just like yours and mine, willing to lay it all on the line to protect what they love and believe in... I am in awe of you. From weathermen to artillery soldiers, helicopter pilots to chaplains, privates to brigadere generals, I salute you!
I am so grateful that I went this morning! This year, I pray that there will be numerous opportunities for me to say thank you to these men and women for their dedication. I plan to. One heartfelt "thank YOU" at a time! Won't you join me?