I had the honor of sitting around with a group of senior citizens yesterday hearing stories of their encounters with war. These were not glamorous stories by any stretch of the imagination. The details that they remember so many years after the war is remarkable.
When the group was invited to speak of their encounters, I had some that refused to share. The pain of their memories was still visible on their face. Even watching their reaction as others freely shared their experiences was painful to watch. The expressions made me want to reach out and hug them; however, I was afraid doing so would result in the tears no longer being held back.
Those that did share, did so with triumph. They are proud of their service to this country, as they should be. However, it was strange to hear the stories of carnage, followed by smiles of heroism. I heard stories of their friends that were found after months of them missing and of how excited the wives were when their husband finally came home. They do not just remember the act, they remember every scene. They talked as if they were reading a movie script. The details were so vivid that for a moment, I was standing there on my front porch, years before I was born, watching my family members come home missing limbs that they left with.
Of course, they did not care that their sons were missing limbs, that their daughters had memories of seeing soldiers torn to shreds, or that their husbands would never be same because of what they had witnessed. They were just excited to have their family back together. They are excited to know that their family members took part in making this country what it is today.
So, it is on this Veteran's Day that I pause and say a special prayer for all those that are currently, have in the past, and will in the future defend this great Country. I will put aside the petty differences and not argue over which party does more than the other. The real fact that should matter today, and every other day as well, is that many, many men and women have given their lives for us to have the life we have. I just wish we were all a bit more appreciative.