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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never Forget


Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue
~George M. Cohan

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
~Elmer Davis

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Veteran's Day!

We take Veteran's Day seriously around here. My husband is a veteran but even if he wasn't we would still wholeheartedly observe this day. Old Glory waves here, and I hope it does at your house, too.

Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veteran's Day is the day we set aside to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. They are the men and women who risk their lives to preserve what we hold most dear. They protect and serve and for that we are truly indebted.

There is no way to adequately thank someone for giving so freely but we try, not only today but everyday . We remember that the man in the grocery store wearing a USMC T-shirt is making more than a fashion statement. He is proclaiming the commitment he's made to keeping Americans safe. We nod our thanks and hope he knows what's in our hearts. We realize there are children who are separated from their parents, not because they want to be but because one or possibly both are serving our country. We pray they know how much we appreciate their sacrifice. And we reach out to those in uniform with a handshake, hug or a few quiet words. The moments are small, the thanks inadequate, but we acknowledge their service and are grateful.

When I reflect on our country's veterans my thoughts also go to those who have made it their mission to honor those who have served. I marvel at their unflagging dedication, their tireless, often thankless, toil. For those unsung patriots, I am also grateful. And when I think of organizations like the VFW my thoughts linger on one very special woman. If you don't mind, I'm going to tell you a little bit about her now.

Our Aunt Shirley has worked at her local VFW Post for as long as I can remember. I'm sure she served there before I was even born. She is still incredibly active in the day-to-day affairs of the place. I don't know what they would ever do without her.

The mission of the VFW is to "honor the dead by helping the living" through veterans' service, community service, national security and a strong national defense. Aunt Shirley does all that with grace and flair. No sacrifice, commitment or inconvenience is too great for her to bear. She puts her all into promoting patriotism and helping veterans and their families.

Our Aunt Shirley? She's a tribute to the spirit that makes this country great. She gives freely of her time and energy. She gives often, with enthusiasm and pride. She gives with her heart and soul--not only sometimes, but all the time. She lives what she believes and she's not afraid to show it. And she does it every minute of every day.

Every minute. Of every day.

I have been fortunate. I've never had to wonder what service is. Or patriotism. Or commitment. Or determination, fortitude, love or honor. I've had a living testament to those things. All my life I've had an inspiration in our Aunt Shirley.

Today I join our nation in honoring our veterans. I am eternally grateful that they sacrificed to protect the freedoms and rights we have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also I thank the countless men and women who, like our Aunt Shirley, have made it their life's work to honor our veterans daily. They've never forgotten, and I hope and pray I never do, either.

Thank you, Aunt Shirley, for teaching me that patriotism and honor are important--not only on special days but every minute of every day.

To learn more about the VFW and what Veteran's Day stands for, there is an editorial by VFW National Commander Glen Gardner here.

32 comments:

CD Yates said...

Inspirational and thought provoking!

On Veterans Day, I always call my Dad and say, "thanks". He doesn't say much in reply, but I know he appreciates it.

And, if I see another Vet today, I'll be sure to say "thanks". :)

Judy said...

As the mother of a currently serving Marine, I want to say thank you for supporting our vets. They richly deserve it. I hope the American Legion is out with their poppies today.... I have errands to run, so maybe I'll get a bouquet.

annette said...

My FIL passed away just under a year ago. He was a vet as is my father and several of my uncles on both sides of my family. My hubby served during peace time.

Rita Oberlies said...

What a great post! I'm not sure we can ever express enough gratitude towards those who have willingly sacrificed their safety in order to protect us! Happy Veterans Day!

Sarashifter said...

On this Veterans Day, as we remember loved ones lost, one of my favorite quotes comes to min. "And when I think upon thee dear friend, all losses are restored and sorrows end."--William Shakespeare

sarabelle said...

My daughter is part of a program at her school today in honor of veterens day. We went through all of our family and wrote down all that were in the service and those that have served in 1 of the wars. I think it is a great way for our children to learn our country's history and to see what sacrifices have been made for the freedom that they have. God bless every one of them and all of my prayers for those still serving.

Judith Leger said...

My father, I am proud to say, served in WWII. He spoke little of his time in the south seas except at times he would say he was young and scared to death. He survived and came home where he lived an excellent life. When he passed away, young members of his military branch, same unit came and performed the military honors. I was given his flag. It's in a flag case in my living room where everyone can see that my father served his country.

I salute all the veterans for their service and sacrifices!

Thanks, Sarita, for reminding everyone what is so important about today!

Dru said...

What a lovely post. We must not forgot all that the veterans have given up to keep our country safe. They should be honored each and every day.

Thanks Sarita for reminding us.

Amy said...

My father served in the late sixties/early seventies, and when I graduated high school, several of my friend served as well.

Thank you, Sarita (and Aunt Shirley!) for your tribute. Very eloquently stated.

The Stars and Stripes flies every day at our house.

Manda Newlin said...

My flag is flying today as it does every day. I like to look out my front window and see it waving, reminding me about the freedom and possibility we have because of the millions who have served in the military and at home throughout our country's history!

Wendy said...

In Canada, November 11th is known as "Remembrance Day" and we are also taking time to remember, honour, and give thanks for the Canadian Forces who have fought - and still do fight for our freedom, and for the freedom of the oppressed around the world. Although I don't have a father, brother, or husband who joined the ranks, I am so proud of our brave soldiers - past and present. They have sacrificed. And we remember.

Melissa said...

Wonderful post, Sarita! Thank you!

Susan said...

What a heartwarming post. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of this day. Your aunt sounds like one in a million.

Mary said...

You are blessed to have such a beautiful example of patriotism in your life.

I'm so glad I stopped by today. This is an inspiring post.

Thank you for supporting our veterans. Thank you for sharing your Aunt Shirley with us!

Denysé said...

Every year we seem to pause and take stock of the past, the present, and look toward a future that perhaps will no longer be marred by war, and the senseless losses it inflicts on everyone we love. Nothing worth fighting for is ever truly lost, but often we lose sight of the why as we are swallowed by the losses and the grief that makes permanents scars on our souls and hearts.

One man's cause is another's disdain, and that is so very wrong. Respect is a lost art now to so many, but if we have only one day to remember it well, then perhaps one will become another, and soon the world will remember what the losses were truly for - freedom to be the best that each of can be, and to be respected and honoured for what we are, what we can become, and what we can do to make this world just a little bit better with our passing through it.

Blessings to everyone, today and always - and keep the memories close in your heart and let them guide you forever.

Beautiful post, Sarita.
With Love,
Denyse

Marianne Arkins said...

Having come from a family of veterans (My father served in WWII, Brother and DH were in during the first Gulf War), I salute you and your husband and your aunt.

Thanks for your post.

Becky C said...

Beautiful post, Sarita. God bless all our troops from past and present.

:)Becky

(fellow TWRP author)

TamiC said...

This is one of the greatest holidays I think we have. The veterans deserve this day and we all should show them respect and how much we appreciate them. I believe we should do it everyday, not just once a year though.





TamiCullen@Hotmail.Com

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sarita,
A beautiful moving post. Like the Canadians and the English here in Australia we call it Remembrance Day or Armistice day. At 11 a.m on the 11th November, we commemorate the signing of the armistice to end the carnage of the 1st world war. At the exact time when the guns on the Western front fell silent, our whole nation stops for a minutes silence to remember our war dead from all the wars.Even though WW1 was supposed tob e the war to end all wars. Many people wear the symbol of Remembrance Day, a red poppy. It is said they grew so profusely on the battlefields of France and Belgium, because they were nurtured by the blood of so many fallen soldiers.
Margaret Tanner

Jeanine said...

Great Post, This is truely a day to observe and appreciate our Veterans.

Cynthya said...

That was a lovely tribute, Sarita. My Dad is a veteran who doesn't like to talk about his time in the service. My sister is in the Navy. I'd like to see more help for returning military personnel and also for the military families.

Opal Campbell said...

An inspirational message to all of us. Let us remember all the vereans and keep our military in our prayers.
Opal

Anonymous said...

Inspiring post, Sarita. My grandfather served in both WWI and WWII. I so admired him. God bless our troops, past, present, and future.

Deborah Piccurelli
DebPiccurelli[at]verizon[dot]net

Anastasia said...

Lovely post Sarita. We can't never repay them for their gift to us. Each and everyday that the sun dawns on American soil we should honor and praise them.

Happy Veterans Day!

Ceri said...

Wonderful and inspiring post, Sarita. I come from a family of veterans as does my husband.

Thank your husband for his service. I don't know what our country would be without it.

Anonymous said...

An inspiring post on a very important day. Your aunt must be a wonderful woman!

-Pam

ddurance said...

What a very nice post in support of our veterans.

Deidre

Anonymous said...

Love this post! And the quotations at the top are inspirational as well.

Janet

Anonymous said...

Sarita, this is one of the most moving "posts" I've read. So inspiring. Your Aunt Shirley is a real trooper.

Aussie Jude x

OquagaPlease said...

Sarita, un gioiello , your words brought a flame to a lost feeling of mine. My father, A.J. Farrell, served in WWII. I have his duffle bag, bomber jacket, his Staff Sergeant patch/pin, handle from the parachute when his plane was shot down and the flag they placed over his coffin. These were all artifacts to me; he died when I was 3. So I heard no stories of his time for our freedom. No voice telling me what these artifacts meant to my father and our country. I heard and still hear stories of his character - his humor, intelligence, passion and of course, his good looks. However, when I was in my 20's I learned that he had kept a war-diary. I was not able to hear his voice ~ still his handwriting spoke. The words are loud and clear with his experiences and his emotions. The artifacts became personified. I feel honored ~ not only did he help his country live a life of freedom, he gave me life.
The flag, of a funeral I was too young to attend, does not make me as sad as it once did. I am proud of the soldier. Also, very thankful to Our Saviour that we live in a country where A.J. Farrell and Aunt Shirley have given of themselves ~ for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

OquagaPlease said...

Sarita, un gioiello , your words brought a flame to a lost feeling of mine. My father, A.J. Farrell, served in WWII. I have his duffle bag, bomber jacket, his Staff Sergeant patch/pin, handle from the parachute when his plane was shot down and the flag they placed over his coffin. These were all artifacts to me; he died when I was 3. So I heard no stories of his time for our freedom. No voice telling me what these artifacts meant to my father and our country. I heard and still hear stories of his character - his humor, intelligence, passion and of course, his good looks. However, when I was in my 20's I learned that he had kept a war-diary. I was not able to hear his voice ~ still his handwriting spoke. The words are loud and clear with his experiences and his emotions. The artifacts became personified. I feel honored ~ not only did he help his country live a life of freedom, he gave me life.
The flag, of a funeral I was too young to attend, does not make me as sad as it once did. I am proud of the soldier. Also, very thankful to Our Saviour that we live in a country where A.J. Farrell and Aunt Shirley have given of themselves ~ for the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Susan said...

I had to come back and read this post again. You really brought a tear to my eye with this one.

Well said.