Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag. And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag." Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Welcome one and all for today's edition here on this Wednesday, November 11, 2015. It is Veterans Day here in our nation where we pause to recognize and be thankful for all those who have served by wearing the uniform of our military. A published speech from the American Legion contained these words: "Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title "veteran." Far less than 1 percent of our population is currently defending us in the Global War on Terrorism. And yet many seem intent on trying to balance the federal budget by diminishing the quality of life programs designed for the families who have already disproportionately made these sacrifices. Veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them. We must appreciate them." At a high school, a decorated Army veteran uttered these words: "We stagger .... at the eternal debt we owe .... to the untold number of American Veterans .... who chose to set aside .... their personal ambitions and dreams .... to assure the well being of our great nation. We, the living .... are indeed .... the beneficiaries .... of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement and surety of our liberty." I add a prayer of my own thanking God for all who have served the cause of liberty in every branch of our armed forces and I also thank God for their families who have also sacrificed. Amen.

As our Thanksgiving Day nears I have been going through those mental checklists of the variety of things that need to be completed in preparation for our family gathering. We attempt to follow our own tradition in terms of the menu and style of celebrating this special family day. Guess what? Other families do their own thing in their own way and it doesn't reflect at all the way we do it. That reminds me of when I was a kid and I spent the night with a buddy. I did not know that every mom in the world wasn't exactly like my mom. I found that out when they put the food on their table. It was like I had showed up in a foreign land. Everything was so different. It wasn't like my mom's. Oh no. Everyone else dug right in and seemed to be enjoying it, therefore, I had to guess they had never had my mom's cooking. I politely took a few bites and made the excuse that I wasn't really that hungry. That wasn't the real me talking. My mom and my grandmother used to stand and watch me eat. I was called their 'good eater'. But, we live and learn. Your traditions belong to you and ours have special meaning to us. I learned not to compare every person's cooking ability to my mom's and I also learned you can get by on a few bites until you get back home.

What is that the young folks say? "Just sharing or just so you know." I am so blessed to have the wife and mother of my children who goes all out to make our time together a rerun of memories that stay with us all for a lifetime. Her cooking tradition was not like the one I grew up with, but, she, being the remarkable woman she is, blended these together to form our own family tradition. Has she been able to accomplish this? Ask our boys. Ask their children. There's something special about it all. The sights, the smells, the being together. I guess as that sand keeps trickling through that hourglass of time I am more aware of just how special the blessing that comes each time we gather. (That sand and hourglass metaphor comes from that old soap opera that Granny Mac would never miss.) Trying to keep it real folks. Trying. Yes I've heard that joke before how that I can be as trying as anyone. But, it's all special to me and as I look around at all the stuff going on, all the hurt, pain, and heartache, the busyness of life, these times where we pause to confirm our identity as a family and celebrate our thankfulness to God, well, as you can tell, I am looking forward to it. You caught that? Good. I am glad you were paying attention. Take care and have a great day and may God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

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