Archives For gratitude

Thank You, Veterans!

November 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

veterans-day-shadowIf you’re really still and quiet you can hear them in the distance — the sounds of artillery and grenades exploding against the night sky. And every pop represents a person, a man or woman engaged in a battle for our continued freedom in an increasingly hostile and volatile world.

These are soldiers on a mission, just another wave of military combatants building on the legacy of those who have proudly served their country for generations before.

Today I salute those men and women who have served our country so well — our veterans. It has been said many times that freedom isn’t free. And these folks know that all too well, having experienced first-hand the horror and grief of watching comrades die in battle.

Ask most children today who their heroes are, and you’ll likely hear a barrage of names from professional athletes to Hollywood celebrities to cartoon characters.

I love my country. That’s why my heroes are America’s veterans. They represent the best our country has to offer. They have served us well and faithfully. And although they have given so much of themselves for us, I often wonder exactly what we have given them in return.

On this Veterans Day, if you value your freedom, take time out to offer your gratitude to those who have served our country — and your steadfast prayers for those who currently serve.

[Re-posted from the archives, 2009]

IT’S YOUR TURN!
How will you mark Veterans Day?

be-grateful[Note: The following article is published in the fall/winter edition of Arkansas Christian Parent magazine.]

Several years ago, Michelle and I had the opportunity to visit New York City for an extended weekend getaway. I had long desired to experience the buzz of the Big Apple, with its honking taxis, street vendors, and glistening skyscrapers. For a Southern guy, the ‘city that never sleeps’ was a real change of scenery, a sharp contrast from the more sprawling and laid-back Dallas-Fort Worth area that had been home for several years.

Indeed, New York tickled the senses with its sights, sounds, and smells (not all of which were pleasant, by the way). However, I found one thing in strikingly short supply: hospitality. New Yorkers are a different breed, to be sure. It didn’t take long for my wife and I to notice that our smiles, nods, and pleasantries were almost always ignored. Was this a by-product of busyness, or merely an outward manifestation of a prevailing ‘each man for himself’ mentality?

Perhaps nowhere was the sense of unconcern for others more evident than at the subway stations. And woe to those who dared to try and walk against the mob of people who exited the station at each stop! Michelle and I commented to each other that the most frequently used greeting was not much of a greeting at all. As our shoulders brushed against a seemingly endless sea of people, person after person grimaced and snapped, “Excuse you.”

That’s right. One of the kindest and most common expressions — at least in the South — had been corrupted and turned into a belittling battle cry that seemed to say, “You don’t belong here. Get out of our way.” Continue Reading…