It is Veterans Day and I love how much attention we give our Veterans. Businesses celebrate Veterans with special offers; parades are held; we openly and frequently thank our veterans. We are blessed to live in such a wonderful nation.
My favorite Veterans Day was when John was the NROTC Professor of Navel Science at Purdue University. (This was before I had the “big” job.). We were invited to be on the reviewing stand in Lafayette, Indiana during the Veterans Day parade.
It was really cold that dry. John was in uniform and I had on my warmest winter coat. As we arrived, the sleet started to come down and the weather continued to deteriorate throughout the morning. The reviewing “stand” was a raised landing of stairs on a public building. Everything around us was made of brick. The building behind us provided no warmth or cover.
I was excited when we arrived and once the parade started, I smiled more and more. Early we learned that the tough task of “scoring” bands, floats, motorcycle units, etc. had been exaggerated to us. We didn’t need to do anything but smile and wave and appropriately recognize the elements of the parade, especially the American flag.
As the weather got worse, I got more and more impressed with the displays in front of us. High school bands marched proudly. Old cars and motorcycles looked great. Horse clubs rode by, followed by a clean up crew.
But, the most impressive units were the groups of veterans. Men and women, young and old, in uniform marched proudly. They held their heads up and stood straight. It was inspiring. And, then I looked at their shoes.
Our shoes often tell a story. That day I saw, old, worn shoes, polished and prepared to go with the uniform. I saw arthritic ankles, swollen, pouring over the sides of shoes. I saw new, shiny shoes, bought just for the parade. On that windy, November morning there wasn’t a pair of comfortable shoes on anyone wearing a uniform.
A friend of ours shares a story of his service in World War II. He was a young man who had much to learn. When the enemy approached their position, his unit had to move quickly. Awakened in the middle of the night, he put on his boots and headed out, leaving his socks behind. It was three days before he would be able to get another pair. And so he marched and fought and ran and served in snow covered, open fields and small towns. Today, he always has comfortable, warm socks.
On this Veterans Day, as we say thank you let’s consider how their service required sacrificed we cannot fathom.
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)