Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day . . .

I remember a story of my Uncle Paul when he was in Korea - one that has guided my life for all these past decades. He wrote a letter home to Mom and she was reading it in the car to Dad as we drove home to the farm from town. I was in the back seat and I can see the back of that seat, their heads and hear her reading just as if it happened a moment ago. He wrote how they were on the front lines in a trench and shells were being lofted from friendly fire behind them and the enemy in front of them. His buddy next to him was hit. It was dark and cold and they were without any protection. He remembered Psalms 23 from memory and repeated it over and over until morning came. That visual and these words have guided my life and held me strong for all of my life . . .

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I watched the memorial service yesterday for the fallen soldiers from Fort Hood. I watched every minute and some parts many times. I could not stop the tears. These words in particular, from President Obama, stay with me today:

"Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute – for students to learn of the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, I think all of us – every single American – must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes."

Thank you!

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