Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!
I live in a 55+ community of 2,000+ homes, and this Memorial Day, I am recognizing incredible patriotism as American flags are lining the main roadways and nearly every home has a flag in their yard or on their home. I'm quite sure many of those who live in this community are veterans and/or they have family members who are serving our country today. There are not enough words of gratitude to express to those who have gone before us and to all of you serving today, who have been willing to sacrifice your life for our freedoms.

There was a news story on NBC in which some high school students (as it happened, they were all African Americans with a patriotic teacher), rode a bus to put flowers on the grave sites of fallen soldiers. An elderly Korean War vet and his wife watched from a distance, then approached the kids. He tearfully thanked them for their gesture and shared a bit of his story. The students (boys and girls) were soon in tears, too. His service and that of all who had been laid to rest around them became very real. That story should make us all think about the men and women who fought for the freedoms we enjoy every day. At this moment, none of us should take their sacrifice for granted.

Our gratitude seems insignificant in comparison to their storming the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, freezing in Korea, wading through rice paddies of Vietnam, braving the heat of Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. What if we intentionally showed our appreciation to our military heroes? Here's some ways we can:

1. Fly Old Glory (there's one on my home)! Fly the flag in your yard, or display it in a prominent place where passersby can easily notice it. If veterans driving by your residence see the stars and stripes proudly waving in the breeze, they will be reminded of the patriotism that citizens harbor in their heart.

2. Say “Thank You” -- If you personally know any veterans and want to make their day, call them on the phone and thank them for their service to our country. If you see a soldier in uniform, thank him/her. Pay for their meal. This simple action on your part will be long remembered, and hearing and seeing your appreciation can make all their sacrifices seem worthwhile.

3. Write a Letter to a Soldier -- Any letter a soldier receives from their homeland is precious to them. There are wonderful organizations that help with that endeavor. The whole family could get involved.

4. Help the Family of a Serviceperson -- The family of a serviceperson is often overlooked, but their loved one’s active duty in the military involves plenty of sacrifices on their part, too. Help them by offering to do yard work or make home repairs or give them a restaurant gift certificate.

5. Pray -- We can petition God for the safety of our military who are in harm’s way, along with asking Him to comfort the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

6. Donate to Charities That Help Veterans -- We can make a monetary contribution to one of the charities that help veterans and their families.

Throughout his eight years in the Oval Office, President Ronald Reagan brought a renewed sense of optimism to a weary nation disillusioned by war and scandal. He repeatedly described America as the “shining city upon a hill.” Were it not for the work of our veterans down through history, America wouldn’t shine as brightly or perhaps would have ceased to shine at all. Because of them, the glow of democracy still beams out for all the world to see.

On this Memorial Day, may we put aside all the petty things we complain about, and sincerely be a people who humble ourselves and pray and offer thanksgiving to God Almighty for our great country and for those who served and continue to serve us so unselfishly! God bless America! And, God bless our service men and women from yesterday, today and tomorrow!