Perhaps it’s a little strange writing this post after Veterans Day is almost over. Right now, it’s a little before midnight and I am writing to reflect on events of today and the last week. Veterans Day is usually observed on November 11, and this is a year in which that held true to form.
The morning began as usual, except for the fact our grandchildren had no school today, so most everyone was able to sleep in. Naturally, that never happens to me, though, as there is an automatic alarm clock somewhere in me, and it goes off with or without our electric alarm. For any of you military folk, you probably know what I’m referring to.
After looking at my morning e-mail and browsing the MEPISlovers forum, it was time to get on the bike and take care of my riding for the day. I’ve really got to update the post about my riding, though, as there has been some great progress, and the distance and route have changed dramatically over the last few months.
The halfway point on my ride is the Chik-fil-A, and over the course of the last couple of months, a routine has been established that seems to work just fine. After locking my bike to a tree, I walk in and one of the kind folk usually pours my cup of “mud” then asks if I want the usual. My usual breakfast is a bisquit and gravy with egg served on a salad plate. I have looked with great care, and have not seen one calorie or fat gram in any of the meals yet. Well, I like to change things up a bit from time to time, so instead of the usual, I sometimes get bisquit, egg and gravy or gravy, egg and bisquit. By changing up like that, you never get in a rut.
This day was special to me in a couple of ways. One of the young ladies who works there handed me a card when I walked inside. I took the card to my table, then picked up my order. Inside the envelope was a Veterans Day card full of very special wording. Well, that really meant quite a lot to me, and I cherish the sentiment – what a kind gesture. The card was addressed “Dear Pastor Parish” and ended with “Thank you for your service!” That’s me: a pastor who happens to be a veteran.
Both my dad and step-dad fought in wars and defended our great nation against enemies, both “foreign and domestic.” Their service, I suppose, inspired me to join the military and stay in for twenty years, just as they both did. Without shame, I offer thanks to our veterans who have given so much of themselves in order to make sure we have the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation of ours.
I have a great heritage, not only militarily, but also in Christ. My parents raised me to believe in an eternal God who loves me, and gave himself for me, as the Apostle Paul would say. They raised me to fear God and to give Him reverence as only He deserves. To me, the greatest gift my parents ever gave was the foundation which was laid as they faithfully carried me to the house of God. I am thankful beyond words.
Our family suffered the loss of my mother last year to cancer. It was a horrible ordeal, so we have a great deal of sympathy for those families who have been so adversely affected by this dreaded disease. My step-dad and mother were husband and wife forty four years, and that’s a long time to be married. He sure misses her, and we do, too.
We have been helping my step-dad for about a week as he is preparing to move out of the big house and close to his brother. He will be well taken care of and I’ll get to see him often. Instead of the 50 minute drive, it’ll now be about 2 1/2 hours, though.
The point is, my step-dad is a veteran and so is his brother. We have been sort of cleaning out the house and getting things in order for him over the course of a week or so. While looking through some paperwork, I came across some documents regarding his military service, and it struck me as never before. Here in black and white was solid proof he served our country in time of war; he sacrificed in order to give the rest of us the freedoms we have.
Writing this post makes me think about my biological father who served as a tail-gunner in WWII. My dad loved the military, and talked about his years of service on many occasions. I can still remember some of the places we lived while my sister and I were young. Both of these men have been pillars in my life and I will ever be thankful. My dad died eighteen years ago, but his memory is still vibrant. Our family is blessed because my step-dad is with us today, and we give him honor, along with countless others who have served our country.
What about you? Do you have any Veterans Day stories?