November 11, 2004

Thank You for my Freedoms

Last night, I attended a ceremony to present a wreath in honor of Veterans' Day. I had to attend since I helped organize it. We had the ceremony right before the Marine Corps Birthday Dinner that we also organized. It was well attended and we had a Lieutenant General from the Marines as our guest of honor. He spoke both at the dinner, which I did not stay for, and at our wreath ceremony. He spoke of the importance of veterans and of the "steely-eyed" men and women who are serving now.

As many of you may know, Veterans' Day started as Armistice day. It was the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month that the guns of the Great War stopped firing. That was the war to end all wars. Or so we thought. It was certainly horrific.

So, today, give thanks.

After the ceremony ended, I walked up to an older man. Must have been in his late sixties or early seventies. He had a chestful of medals on the left breast of his tuxedo jacket. I held out my hand to him and I said the following:

"Thank you for your service. I am not staying for the dinner tonight because I have to go home and read stories and bathe my children. Thank you for all you've done in the past so that I can enjoy this now." And I shook his hand.

He looked startled and then genuinely pleased. He shook my hand back and smiled and thanked me for thanking him.

And I went home and read stories to my children, secure in the knowledge that there are brave men and women out there making it possible for me to enjoy my freedom.

Thank you to all veterans.

My thanks and gratitude would be incomplete, I feel, if I did not also thank the families of the veterans. Those men and women who keep the family together while their soldier goes off to fight. They are mostly unsung, these home bound warriors, but they deserve our thanks no less and have suffered their loved one's absence in ways we may not fully comprehend. Thank you.

Posted by Random Penseur at November 11, 2004 11:05 AM
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