Thursday is going to be tough for me this year. Veterans’ Day just won’t seem right without a phone call with my Grandpa Miller. He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and was a patriot through and through. I’d call him each year on Veterans Day and thank him for his service. Then he would tell me about all the good deals and discounts he’d gotten throughout the day. It was like he had won the lottery!
Growing up, I remember going on summer trips with my grandparents to Branson, Missouri. Many of the shows down there had a patriotic moment in honor of Veterans. My Grandpa would rise to his feet, chest swelling out, back straight as a ramrod, and a far-off, misty look would come into his eyes. Even as a kid, I knew I was observing something beautiful. Those moments went deep into the corners of his story. There were joy and pain, sacrifice and glory, as all those years of service came rushing back. In those moments, the Patriot was reborn. Grandpa was ready to serve all over again if ever his country called.
Grandpa loved his country. He knew America isn’t a perfect place, but he believed she is worth fighting for. He was proud to be an American, in the very best sense. This Thursday I won’t be able to call him, since he’s now with Jesus. But I’ll call Grandma, and we’ll honor him together. It won’t be the same without him here with us.
Far too often we forget that freedom isn’t free. Our everyday lives and freedoms were won at great cost. So many have served and sacrificed for us. So we pause and honor our Veterans this week. To each of you who have served our country, we honor you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice.
You are loved, more than you know!