|Posted by Whitney Neal on May 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM|
"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." -Cynthia Ozick
How do you express your gratitude? Is it with a note? A hug? Uttering the words "thank you" with a smile? Are we fully able, as a society, to express gratitude in the sincerest of ways? I often wonder if the people I am most thankful for truly understand the level of gratitude and respect that I feel for them.
Each week as I ponder Thankful Thursday I am reminded how truly blessed I am, and not just in "things" but in people and experiences. And as I contemplate that which I value most, I must stop and remember that all of this, every bit, is because of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. Dating back to the American Revolution, average citizens have left the comfort of their homes and families, of the lives and jobs they loved, and taken up arms in defense of freedom and of the rights that we enjoy on a daily basis. Inevitably, this results is significant loss, none more so than when we took up arms against one another in the Civil War.
Every man and woman who has donned the uniform of the United States deserves our honor, respect, and gratitude. We MUST honor them for having the will to enlist, the grit to fight, the steadfastness to stand firm, the strength to watch friends fall and keep going, the character to handle the scars that are carried home, the pain that comes from leaving family and missing those important events, and for paying the ultimate sacrifice. From 1775 to today, May 28, 2012, 1,343,812 of our military members have paid that sacrifice; have laid down their lives for your right to vote, to speak, to assemble, to bear arms. They have worn our uniform with pride, fighting for the freedoms that our beautiful flag waves for each and every day, a beacon of liberty across the world for all those who suffer from limitations of those rights.
I ask that you take a moment today to stop and reflect, imagine a country without a volunteer military dedicated to defending your freedoms, and say a prayer of thanks for those who have passed to protect you. Imagine the families who have sent young men and women off to war, placing faith in God for their safekeeping and for healing after loss. Pray for those serving us right now, this very moment, in Afghanistan and the more than 150 other countries around the world where U.S. troops are deployed.
If you are so called, visit the Wounded Warrior Project, my charity of choice, an amazing organization that helps those who are injured, physically and mentally, by their experiences overseas. They pay a price too - and deal with the effects for the rest of their days. For $19 a month, you can show your gratitude by sponsoring the programs so badly needed by our returning heroes. Read or watch their stories - their stories of loss, sacrifice, hope, and redemption. Of how the Wounded Warrior Project has played a significant role in rebuilding their lives. We owe it to them.
Finally, if you live in Texas, please express your gratitude by standing up for freedom in your own way - VOTING - in tomorrow's primary (if you haven't already early voted). Honor their sacrifice by expressing the most valuable, the most powerful of rights granted to you by the Constitution.