Last night after work I was driving to meet my husband for dinner at one of our favorite places. I was thinking about my boys, and how much I miss them. As I drove through the center square by the Craterian Theater, I saw two young men. One guy with bushy long hair held a sign that said "No More War". He was wearing the uniform of an Army soldier. The other guy was holding a long pole, and at the top of it was our American Flag, hanging upside down. They were both yelling angrily at the passing traffic, and they both wore guns in their belts.
I resisted the urge to pull over and talk to them. To look into their eyes and find out what they were really saying. To find out if they understand that men and women have fought and given their lives for their very right to hold signs in public and yell at passing cars. To ask them why they are doing this on Veteran's Day, when we honor those who have served us. There are 364 other days they can use to wrestle with the subject of war. I wanted to find out if they actually know any soldiers personally. If they've ever looked into the eyes of a War Veteran and listened to their stories. If they've ever sat with a grieving mother, or visited the grave of a young father. If they went to high school with my sons.
I knew my husband who was in the car in front of me was fighting the urge to pull over as well, although I doubt it was to ask questions. When you are the parent of a soldier, it's easy to take these kinds of things personally.
Inside the restaurant, we were waiting for our table when my husband stopped and stared across the room.  There he was. Sitting across the table from his daughter, eating his dinner. He wore a hat. It said "World War II Veteran" and was covered in pins. We stood and stared, our hearts full of love for this man we had never met. This hero.
David walked over and shook the Veteran's strong hand. Thanked him for his service. He was humble and soft spoken, and listened while David told him that two of our sons serve as soldiers in the US Army. That Evan just returned from Afghanistan and Ethan is due to leave in February. He thanked us and smiled.
And I just can't help but wonder if those two young man yelling in the town square have met anyone like this old soldier that was quietly eating his dinner in Four Daughters Irish Pub that night. He is far away from war now, but I'm sure that on this day his thoughts had wandered through battles and friends he has known and lost over the years. This was the day set aside to honor him and his battle buddies.
I think sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the 'cause'. It's easy to say you hate war, or a million other things that ruin us all. To be passionate about changing the world. But I hope I never forget to notice those who are quiet. Those who are strong, who do their job, who faithfully show up and protect us, expecting nothing in return.  I hope I never forget the lives that were given so that I can live in freedom. May God bless that Veteran in Four Daughters last night. Thank you, Sir. And thank you to the men and women who have served and are serving. I notice. I'm grateful. I won't waste my freedom.


  1. Thanks for a very touching tribute to our servicemen!


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