Many Thanks to Our Veterans by Ann Walker
Many Thanks to Our Veterans
This picture could represent any person who signed on the dotted line and entered the military. It just happens to be one of my favorite pictures. I also like the picture of the Screaming Eagle of the 101st Airborne Division my Dad served in.
On a cold, almost winter day, my father was drafted into the service. He left Pittsburgh on his birthday, and he returned home two years later on his 21st birthday. When he left home, unsure of what to expect, he might have thought to himself (as he headed off into the unplanned, unknown), “Some birthday gift.” When he returned home, he probably thought to himself, “Some birthday gift!” He did not have to partake in battle, but he had many friends that did so. Some of those friends returned home and didn’t want to talk about what happened while they were away. When people were drafted, they didn’t have a choice to serve. They just did it because the law required them to do so. I never heard my father complain about those days, but I got the feeling that the uncertainty had been somewhat unsettling.
Those who willingly sign up to serve our country have different reasons to enter the service. Some people in Dad’s troop did sign up because they were young and thought that the Army would give them direction and provide them with great skills, which it did. I imagine many people today see the service as a special calling–one that requires strength and determination to selflessly represent and protect the people. I also have a feeling that many of them may rely on a higher power to get them through whatever they may face. No matter what brings them into any branch of service, I feel these brave men and women are owed a lot of gratitude for helping our great country.
When my brother entered the service, I recall that my sister sent him a Rosary and a prayer book. I imagine those prayers were comforting especially when my brother was sent to an unfamiliar country. It is comforting to know that our service members have many Saints they can pray to for guidance and protection, such as:
- Saint Michael the Archangel who led God’s army in Heaven as Lucifer fell from grace. Saint Michael continues to protect those who are engaged in battles—especially soldiers;
- Saint George whose story is told in the Legend of Saint George and the Dragon; and
- Saint Joan of Arc who entered into battle and protected France.
When thinking about those who have served, I looked for and found several articles which conveyed ways to honor veterans, such as sponsoring organizations which serve Veterans’ needs. When I see someone wearing a military uniform, I want to offer thanks. However, I sometimes think twice because I have a friend—a veteran--who doesn’t like special recognition for having served. Since I feel deeply grateful, I respectfully offer a silent prayer when seeing other veterans in case they feel similarly. I feel that a prayer is something worthwhile that I can do without drawing attention. At other times—when I sense that it’s okay to offer a simple “thank you” with a smile—I know it is a kind gesture that doesn’t take much effort but gently offers acknowledgement and even encouragement.
It is important—in our own way--to take time to remember the gift of freedom that we enjoy in America due to the commitment of service members who have been there for us. What a great gift, indeed—especially on the day our nation respectfully acknowledges the sacrifices that were made on our behalf.
Thank you, Veterans! We appreciate you.
- By Ann Walker