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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

“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

I fall into this political chasm of general partisan confusion... I refuse to identify solely with one party or the other - I stick to my beliefs and principals. I avoid conversations that aim to encourage me to commit to one political leaning over the other, rather I discuss and vote the things that are most important to me, and respect that what makes this country beautiful - diversity.

You will never hear me make threats of leaving the country in protest to an election or an issue. Honestly, I'm more mature than that, and love the freedom I have given too much to stoop so low as to threaten to do so.

In fact, I left my country to SERVE it because it is my right and responsibility to do so - to defend my love for my country in the outside world that is often blinded by the sheer power our nation possesses, and the divisions that have sadly arisen from it.

There is one thing I am certain of, however, and will defend to my death:

I am PRO the men and women defending our country,
and those who have done so selflessly in the past.

A few years ago on a Friday morning I sat in a freshman religion class in a combination of shock, dismay, and panic as I heard my professor agree with one of my classmates that my grandfathers, dad, brother, and many close friends were all going to hell because they are/were in the military.

I cowered in my seat as I rehearsed many responses in defense of my loved ones.

I did nothing.

I said nothing.

I thought much.

All weekend I hated myself for sitting by and doing nothing as I heard people attack the salvation of the courageous men and women I have known all of my lives - some of the most dedicated, loving, giving, and courageous people anyone will ever meet. I've heard people attack our nation's service-members before, but never had it gnawed at me in such a way.

On Monday my mom called at an unusual time, and asked when the last time I had heard from Ben was. Ben was a corporal in the Marines, and had been deployed in Iraq for some time.

About the time I was sitting in that religion class on Friday morning boiling over comments of my classmates but not standing up for my beliefs, Ben and a fellow marine were stopping a suicide bomber on the outskirts of camp - giving their own lives, but saving the lives of every other man in their unit.

Don't tell me that one of the most popular guys of the Barcroft Youth Group - the guy whose smile and passion for God could light up a room full of teenagers and bring them to their knees in desperate worship - is going to hell because he gave his life for his country.

Don't tell me that because every officer, marine, soldier, sailor who loves God can't meet their maker because they paid the ultimate sacrifice or served the country that HE created.

Dad (and mom - the ever supportive Navy wife :)) - you will never know what an amazing example of loyalty, dedication, and love for this country and Christ you have been to me for 22 years. I guess when I was little and told you I was following in your footsteps to the Naval Academy, you knew better than I did that that wasn't in the plan for me, but I am so thankful to be able to serve the same country you did but in a different capacity. I love you BOTH for providing such an example patriotism.

Ryan - you aren't a veteran yet, but I LOVE YOU and I am sooooo incredibly proud of you!

For all the other veterans and servicemembers in my life - In a mere expression of gratitude, and on behalf of all those that too often forget about you, THANK YOU. For everything.

Keep singing for Jesus Ben...
Can't wait to worship with you again some day.

I'm still a horrible bass guitar player
(I never did get the double on stage like you wanted)

but I love our Creator even more than I did in HS, and just like you taught me -

THAT'S so much more important.

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