Monday, November 12, 2007

I Will Not Forget

As I stood with my family yesterday in front of the Pulaski St. church building, I saw a sight I will never forget. We were there to watch my son walk in his first parade as a cub scout. I imagine it was destined to be one of those unforgettable days anyway. But on this Veteran’s Day, coming down the street, there was a worn, blue van with a window open and a small American flag hanging from the opening. The van said, “Countryside Healthcare.” There was a driver, and in the passenger seat there was a very elderly man. He was hunched over, just peeking out the window. He could not move, for years of work and sacrifice were weighing his body down. I knew he was a veteran. I knew he had served my country. He was one of the willing ones; one of the doers; one of our country’s finest. But all he had left was a humble ride in a van. He said nothing, and his face had little expression. It may have been that he was not able to speak, though it was sure that the life that he had lived was speaking for itself. As I looked into the window I thought about the fact that this may be his last memory of a day like this. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know how well he could see me. But in this sparsely populated crowd, where many had rather sit at home or do something else than attend such a parade, our eyes made contact with one another. What do you say to a hero? I waved, and I said, "Thank you." It is a moment I will never forget.

And I will not forget. I will not forget, no matter who burns a flag and calls it freedom of speech. I will not forget, no matter who refuses to support the cause for which we have fought and continue to fight. I will not forget, no matter what challenges lie ahead concerning freedom and the price that has been and must be paid so that people can obtain it. I will not forget about our real heroes. I will not forget what they have done for me. I will not forget.

"Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren" ~ Deuteronomy 4:9

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