Most people who know me know that my grandparents are in the process of moving into assisted living; my grandmother has been in about a month now, and by grandfather will be there officially soon. While cleaning out some of the items that they have accumulated over the years, my grandfather gave my family an assortment of articles cut out of old newspapers, church bulletins, and other items. Some of the articles involve some of my school activities from the 80’s, others tell of church activities my grandparents engaged in, and still more told the story of an apparently ill-fated Marietta City Council bid my grandfather undertook in the early 60’s. Another worn envelope contained an incredible find: cutouts from World War II, detailing the exploits of soldiers from Covington and Oxford.
My grandfather didn’t fight in the war. He wanted to, but medical conditions kept him from serving. However, many of his friends from high school and many of the young men he played baseball with fought in the Pacific and European theaters for the cause of democracy and the protection of free people. One of his older brothers did as well, and I’ve read some of the reports of their exploits (both of his older brothers may have…I’m just not sure). Reading these small articles about the heroics and routine of members of what is known as the Greatest Generation, and to read them on the eve of Veterans Day was particularly poignant.
A couple of weeks ago, our Lead Pastor Scott Moore and I finished lunch and stopped by a local grocery store for some cookies to take back to the office. At the store we met a man who served in the same company of Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. The significance of encountering living history was not lost on the two of us.
I have an immeasurable respect for those who have served and our serving in our Armed Forces, keeping America safe and helping the cause of freedom throughout the world. The men and women of our military place their lives in harm’s way, and I am grateful to those who serve and have served. My deepest thanks go out to the veterans today and everyday. May God bless our military men and women.