By Tera Ertz
I’m going to put the personal anecdotes on hold for today, in honor of all or our men and women in uniform in this country. That isn’t to say however that I do not have some personal thank yous to share on this day. My Grandfather fought in Europe in WWII, if it were not for men like him and his fellow soldiers, the world would be a different, darker place. My father and my father in law, as well as my two former fathers in law, all joined the Navy at various points during the Vietnam War. These men came home to vilification, anger, and a country that had turned their backs on them. Yet each of them remained in the Navy for many years after the war, continuing to serve a country filled with ungrateful citizens with no comprehension of what it takes to be a member of the US military. They were called to defend the freedoms of their fellow citizens, the homes of their families, and the ideals of their country against those who would bring them harm. They were called to defend nameless, faceless innocents around the globe from those who would inflict misery upon the masses in their efforts to extinguish the bright light of liberty that this country has always aspired to, even in its darkest days.
I am grateful for my first husband, who also answered the call to his country’s service. I am thankful for each and every man and woman that I have known personally through the years that has been in the service of this country, and God has blessed me with more of those folks than I can recount today. But there are one or two more I’d like to mention. Corey has a young man whom he’s known since his birth, who looks to his parents as his grandparents, and who has recently enlisted and completed basic training. Chris, be safe, be blessed, and know that we are proud and grateful for your service. A man who served as Scout leader to the boys in our community before his reserve unit was called up several years ago has just returned from his third (I think) tour to Iraq. He’s back stateside, and will be home, hopefully for good at the end of this week. Steve, thank you so much for being a model of citizenship and what it means to live the Scout Oath and Law for our boys. Praise God for bringing you home safely to your family, know that we are proud and grateful for the service you have given, and thankful you now have a chance to rest. Corey’s cousin is also in transit from afar with his reserve unit. He’s one of the guys who goes and builds bridges and water supply structures to help rebuild. Brian, thanks so much for all you’ve done, we’re proud of you. And to the families of all these folks, and the rest of those who wait, from one mother/daughter/wife to another, bless you and thank you for lending us the courage and strength of those you hold so dearly. There are probably more, and please, if I’ve forgotten to name you this day, do not think that my gratitude is in any way diminished, it is simply the limitations of a tired mind and tear filled heart.
This column is not simply to thank the people in our lives, however, it is ultimately to thank the God who made us. Lord, today I give you thanks for the protection you provide, the comfort you bring, and these amazing men and woman you have placed among us in this place and time. This country, while many critique her flaws, was founded in the belief in you, and in the belief that mankind should be free. Out of those values taught by Christ, we have sought through the years to be a beacon of hope, willing to defend not only ourselves, but those who sought their own freedoms. There are those that claim this is wrong, there are those that would deny your place in the beginnings and in the course we have set through the years. But today God, I would say thank you for laying the foundation from which the men and women of this nation can go forth and follow the examples you have set for us. Thank you for the angles you have sent here to walk the earth in combat boots and camo gear who make it safe for us to do that, please God make us worthy of their sacrifice.
I hope the rest of you will join me for a moment of Thanks for those who have served.