Honoring Veterans

Honoring the American flag, starring at toy soldiers and proudly wearing Daddy's veteran's hat.
Honoring the American flag, starring at toy soldiers and proudly wearing Daddy’s veteran’s hat.

Today I take a break from the typical fun feline frolicking as I stand in solidarity with my daddy.

As he rose this morning—albeit a bit later than normal because he had the day off for Veteran’sDay—he surprised both Mom and me as he emotionally gripped an encased flag and his army men.

Daddy served proudly for eight years in the Army National Guard.

Daddy proudly wearing his veterans hat
Daddy proudly wearing his veterans hat

He was honorably discharged from the 475th MASH (a military hospital unit) as a Sergeant. He spoke of the ever-present conflict of being away from family that constantly grips each soldiers heart. He shared that he had hoped to parachute out of planes, and go on missions to get our enemies, but that his service had kept him stateside.

He was also remembering his own father, whose casket that flag had draped just three years ago. Daddy loved his father, but at times, Daddy wished his father hadn’t been so difficult. Daddy laughed as he remembered his father mowing the lawn in dress shoes and doing his best to dress up, even though his sense of fashion was sometimes questionable.

That man was my grandpa, and I never met him.  He was one of the fortunate soldiers in World War II, because he lived a full life before he died of natural causes at 88 years old.

Daddy was also praying and crying out for those whose families made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

He was praying for those who are still in harm’s way, defending our country today. He lifted up to the Lord our dear friend, John, who serves today in the Navy in the Middle East, with his wife and three children a world away.

He asked that our merciful God protect all U.S. soldiers today from harm’s way, and that their hearts would be protected from the worst display of immorality and vulgarity that he had ever experienced.

He was mourning the country he knew as a youth—and wondered where the old-fashioned moral standards he knew as a pastor’s son growing up more than 20 years ago have gone. He wondered what our country will be like as his soon-to-be-born grand daughter comes of age.

He wondered if he was asked to serve today, what ideals would he be fighting for? Would he, if serving today, be able to express his love for Jesus Christ without being told he was offending someone or being asked to keep his faith separate from the front lines?

Difficult questions indeed. And ones that our veterans and active military face each day. I am just a cat, but I empathize with my daddy. So, I stare in awe of this flag and these army men—and we—in this family—offer our prayers and deep felt gratitude.

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