Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day

Today at my school, veterans of all ages will walk the halls and be serenaded by the sweet sounds of primary school age children singing ballads of gratitude and respect. It always makes me weepy to hear their little voices singing "God Bless America" while veterans of all ages smile and try to hide their own tear filled eyes. It only takes a moment to say "Thank You", but it can mean so much.

I was reminded of a lovely moment I happened to catch when my now 13 year old daughter was only 7 years old. We were visiting with some extended family for a holiday. The family jokingly referred to its oldest member as the "old bear in his den". He was a bit of curmudgeon when the house was full of company. When he retreated into his den, you did not disturb him. However, no one had informed my little one of that policy.

She dared to boldly enter his study and she looked around at the pictures of bomber planes he flew during WWII and all of the medals he had received. I was just about to tiptoe in and retrieve her when she walked right up to him as he sat in his recliner. She said, "I wanted to tell you that I heard about you. I know that you stopped that mean old Hitler from killing people. Daddy said you flew 22 missions in those planes in your pictures. I just came in to tell you that you were brave and I love you for it." Then, that sweet little thing leaned in and kissed him on his cheek. She skipped right out of the bear's den and never even saw the tears flow down his cheeks. I did though.

Later, the bear came out of his den. He told jokes. He drank eggnog. He even danced with a certain seven year old girl. Everybody was whispering to each other saying, "He sure is in a good mood today." or "What's gotten into him?" Someone even thought that maybe the eggnog was spiked. I did not say a word. The bear was just feeling joyful about being appreciated for his service.

I hope you take a moment to appreciate the men and women you know who have served their country.  A text, an email, a phone call will just take you a moment, but it could mean the world to them. Happy Veterans Day!

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