Today was Veterans Day, a holiday to honor those who have served in our country’s armed services. Since I am a government employee who gets this day off from work, I like Veterans Day, but in the last several years the holiday has become more to me than just a day away from the office. Perhaps it’s because I have come to appreciate the sacrifice that the veterans have made to ensure our freedoms. Veterans like my dad, and my cousin who graduated from West Point and whose daughter graduated from West Point too. My dad speaks proudly of his time in the army–how it changed him and how he feels a brotherhood with fellow veterans. I sometimes get a lump in my throat when I witness the patriotism of our veterans and am so thankful by their dedication to service.
Last Memorial Day our church celebrated the holiday with a veteran from our parish community offering the American flag during the offertory. My dad, who doesn’t usually attend my church happened to be there that day. When a church staff member was scrambling looking for a veteran to carry the flag, she saw my dad wearing his American flag lapel pin and asked if he was a veteran . My dad proudly stated, “Of course.” Then she asked him if he wouldn’t mind carrying the flag. Well, my dad said , “I would be honored.” Of course he would. He may have been a Catholic in an Episcopal church but he’s still a veteran. He is proud of his service, as I am. So, to my dad and the thousands who have served, thank you.