It was a special service. An emotional video of remembrance. A retired Air Force Colonel sharing his sentiments towards his fallen comrades followed by the playing of Taps. The mood was somber, humbling, honorable. The video alone had brought me to tears, so thankful for those who have served our country. But in the midst of the crowd, I couldn't help but notice a white haired gentleman rise to his feet as he wiped away tears. He stood at attention then put his hand over his heart. He was followed by another in the same motion. Still one more stood with arms raised to the sky then his stance turned to attention. I didn't know them or those they were remembering but it was emotional and moving and a reminder of those we should be honoring this weekend. The distinct way they stood at attention told me they were certain to have served. I wanted to know what they were thinking, who they may be remembering, what service they had given, what sacrifices they had endured. I wanted to know their stories. I wanted to honor them and their commitment to God and country. My heart swelled with gratitude and again I felt tears falling.
God shed His grace on thee, indeed. There's a sense of pride that fills my heart when I truly allow myself to reflect upon what it's taken to get here; to be able to declare I am proud to be an American. I can't - I won't - forget the ones who gave me that right. Land of the free, home of the brave. The valiant warriors who freely went, willingly gave and bravely shed their blood for our freedom, my freedom.
My thoughts turn to my Grandpa Dunbar and the stories he would tell of his and Grandma's time serving in World War II. He would watch D-Day specials on TV looking for a glimpse of his brother who had been lost at Normandy. He was a pilot, that much I knew. I had heard the stores but am ashamed to say I didn't pay better attention. We weren't a military family beyond their service but I am proud to be an American and have a deep respect for those who answer the call to serve, defend and protect. My right to write this blog was given by the blood, sweat and sacrifice of soldiers and patriots who have fought for these and other freedoms.
It can be a time of confusion. A presidential election year, battles over gender in the bathroom, Supreme Court decisions that have altered our way of thinking, living and believing. And for these freedoms these men and women continue to fight. Whether they believe in each and every one of the decisions being made, they still believe in the good of our nation, in the people who make up this country. The speaker yesterday said it best, explaining these service men and women sign a blank check, their oath, that their call to duty can be cashed in at any time, to any place, for any length of time. I don't know if I could be as selfless. You not only forfeited your right to yourself, you were willing to give everything for people you've never met. For me. So today I stop and say thanks because each and everyday you've never stopped considering us worth it.