Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day 33: Veterans

I know it is not Veteran's Day but as I looked through my photos I saw this one and it reminded me of the profound gratitude I feel for all those men and women who have sacrificed in anyway to protect our country.

This is the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

As I think of those that have offered so much to protect our nation I can't help but think not just of the sacrifices of those who've served but also of those they have left behind. I feel tremendous respect for anyone that has taken their turn, risked their life, postponed dreams, laid anything upon the alter of sacrifice to make our country what it is today.

A few years ago I was at a school play. It was a patriotic program. Before the play began they played the armed forces medley and asked as the song for each branch of service was played for those that had served or the family of those that had served to stand and be recognized. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I saw men and women, young and old, stand and be recognized.

A couple of summers ago I was at a week long boy scout camp. At one of the campfire ceremonies they asked for all of the veterans present to come forward. A group of well-seasoned and gnarled men stepped forward and stood at attention saluting a flag that was being retired and smoldering in the fire. I was not the only one wiping tears from my cheeks.

Perhaps I should have waited for a patriotic holiday to write these thoughts but the truth of the matter is that nearly everyday is a patriotic day for me. I cannot see a flag without being choked up. I love this country and what it stands for. I feel profound respect and gratitude for all those that have made it so.

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