Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Veterans Day Sank In Yesterday...

I'm not a funeral guy.

Also, if you want something funny here today, go away. Yeah, I know that I'm a funny guy, at least funny looking, but the truth is, sometimes I need to be serious.

The Missus' best friends grandfather passed away a few days ago, and the funeral was yesterday.

The man was 87 years old.

He was a pilot in the Air Force, and he loved flying. As they listed his accolades and honors, I felt something stirring inside me. It took me a moment to figure out what it was, and then I identified it. It was pride.

This man served his country, and he lived to tell about it.

They told a story about how in his final days, when his mental facilities were failing him, he sat up in his hospital bed, and pretended he was flying an airplane. He told one of the grandkids to "move the table" in the hospital room, so he could land the plane. He loved flying so much, it became his escape from his sickness.

The Air National Guard was at the funeral, and they gave him military honors. I was enraptured by the precision of it all, and the genuine respect in those young mens eyes as they folded the flag and gave it to the widow of an American Soldier.

Towards the end of it all, I was surprised to find not only a lump in my throat, but a lump in my calf as well. As I wondered why my leg was cramping, it hit me. I had been standing at attention the entire time. Without even realizing it.

Now, I am the last person you'd expect to do anything military. The concept of me at attention is probably baffling you. But there I was, back straight, hands to sides, knees locked, eyes straight ahead.

As the gun shots went off in salute, I experienced a moment of total and unadulterated pride. Pride in being a part of this country. Pride in the men and women who daily get up and help keep safe my life and my freedoms.

I guess you could say that the reality of Veterans Day really hit me yesterday. I realized that these people SHOULD have a day where they are honored. To be truthful, it should be more than one day. Each one of us should spend a little bit every day just being appreciative of the sacrifice that is made. Not just the sacrifice of  life, but with time, with body, and with mind.

I try not to repeat myself too much here on this blog, but today I want to say a real thank you to our country's service personnel. As Thanksgiving approaches, you can be sure that they will be mentioned in my prayers, and they will be thought of often.

Thank you.