There are a couple of World War II veterans at our church. One of them sits ramrod straight, and when I go to shake his hand during the sign of peace, his is an iron grip.
The only thing he ever said to me about fighting in Europe in the winter was \I had an awful lot of good boys there.
We spent a chunk of time this winter watching HBO's incredible series "Band of Brothers," a Christmas gift to one of our sons. All I can really say to you about it, is: see it.
I thought of our friends at church when I watched it, and of my own grandfather, now deceased, who served on a battle ship in the South Pacific. I think of my uncle whose eyes sometimes show shadows, which might be from his days in Vietnam. I think of our troops in Iraq, and all the people who didn't make it out of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
When I watch the vets in the Memorial Day parade, I clap as hard as I can.
Around Memorial Day and Veterans Day, I try to thank the vets at our church for guaranteeing the amount of freedom I take for granted. But my throat closes and my eyes water, so I just shake hands a few minutes longer and hope that they understand that I'm thanking God for their presence in this world.