Feeling Thankful

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and one of the things I’m most thankful for is that I was fortunate enough to be born in America.  I’m grateful I didn’t grow up in a war zone, and that I live in a country where I have freedoms that are such a part of me that I don’t even think about them.  I’m thankful I’m so blessed!

I don’t forget that my freedom was purchased by soldiers throughout the past 200+ years, and I’m thankful for that.  I’m thankful that I’m not forced to follow a religion I don’t believe in, that I can keep a gun if I want, that I can speak the truths that are important to me.

I’m thankful for each sacrifice made to keep me free.  I wish I could tell the men and women who paid dearly for this freedom of mine how grateful I am.  Since I can’t, I’ll simply send up a small prayer that their lives and that of their loved ones will be blessed as my life has been blessed.  I’m thankful for this feeling of gratitude.

VETERANS DAY

Today is Veterans Day!  If you slept safely and soundly through the night, thank a veteran.  If you got up and went to work without someone shooting at you, thank a veteran.  If you can go where you want to go and largely do what you want to do so long as it’s legal, thank a veteran.

We are so lucky to enjoy the freedoms we do.  Many Americans may take their freedom for granted and never think of the cost, and that’s unfortunate.  Men and women have died so that you and I could live free.

This Veterans Day I’d like to say thank you to every veteran who stood in defense of America.  May you be blessed as you have blessed others.  You are the best!

HISTORY TOUR

I went on vacation last week to Washington, D.C. If you have any interest in American history at all, this is a perfect place to learn it first-hand. We stopped at Gettysburg the first day. I was shocked when I learned how many men died in just three days when the Union Army fought the Confederates at Gettysburg. 55,000 soldiers died; they said the blood in the fields ran ankle deep.

Next we went to the Smithsonian where we spent an entire day going through exhibits on the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII, the Korean War and finally Vietnam. I was horrified as I thought about how many men and women died in those wars, and all those who were maimed or missing in action.

After the Smithsonian, we headed to Arlington where we saw the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We watched the changing of the guard and I was proud of the respect and honor shown for our fallen heroes there. I walked past the grave of John Kennedy and saw the eternal flame that burns there representing freedom. It is certainly awe inspiring!

Next we went to the Holocaust Museum; that was a different experience. It was learning how the German’s killed the children when they arrived at the camps, and seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of the Jews waiting in line to be marched to the gas chambers that did me in. It was here that I realized that all the horrors of war can’t stand up to the devastation in the souls of those we were defending. I decided then that war is a necessary evil. If we stand aside and let people be oppressed and say we can’t do anything because we aren’t the oppressors, then we’ve just become another part of the problem.

The final stop was at the United Flight 93 Memorial, a memorial in the making. It’s not finished, but it’s probably one of the most profound experiences of my life. United Flight 93 was the 4th plane high-jacked on 9/11 and crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania when the crew and passengers fought back. As I read through the story of these everyday men and women who decided to defend American at the cost of their lives, who brought down the plane they were on rather than allow it to be crashed into the U.S. Capital or the White House, I realized that at any time any of us can be called on to defend our country and our freedom. For all they say that America is hated by other countries for interfering in their activities, I must say it made me proud to be an American when I made this tour through history. Democracy may be one of the most dysfunctional forms of government in the world…but it’s better than anything else out there.