A couple times a year while running into a grocery store or maybe the bank I find myself passing a man with a bucket, or a can.
Usually he's an older gentleman, decked out in a decorated uniform.
Colorful stripes and medals, whose meanings I don't pretend to know.
Sometimes he's old and feeble and stands supported by an old cane, other times he's sitting in a wheelchair.
I toss a handful of change into his container.
"Thank you miss" or "God bless you for your contribution" the man says as I pass him by.
I make my way to my car and along the way I pat myself on the back for my generosity.
Once, a few years ago I sent my step dad Papa G a message it was for either Veteran's or Memorial day, I can't remember which now, anyway... I thanked him for his service to our country.
Not only was he in the military, but he also served as a US Marshall for almost 30 years.
That's a lifetime of devotion to one's country.
My country, our country.
My step dad wrote back that he can count on one hand the number of times someone has thanked him for his service to this country.
Really? How sad.
He told me how touched he was by my gesture.
I don't just toss in a handful of coins anymore.
That is not enough.
THAT IS NOT ENOUGH!!!!
Now after the old Vet thanks me for my pitifully tiny contribution to his cause I take a moment and look into his eyes, I offer my hand and I say "IT IS YOU SIR THAT DESERVES TO BE THANKED!!!...THANK YOU SIR".
It never fails to bring a surprised smile to their face and often a tear to their eye.
What is Memorial Day? A quote found online says "A day to remember and honor those that serve, those that have served, those that have gone to rest in service, and any person serving another as an act of duty, unconditional love, devotion and obligation"
So in honor of Memorial Day I'm going to thank a few of my favorite Veterans (and the brave young men in my life that soon will leave to serve our military) for their past, present and future service to our country
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Papa G, Uncle John, Uncle Dan, Uncle Clarence, Donnie, Tony, Chad, Bretton, Matt, Phil, Jake...may God continue to keep you safe and may you always know that your past, present, future contributions and sacrifices to this country are very much appreciated.
If you would like to send some Memorial Day wishes or thoughts to a Veteran please leave a comment or two on this blog...I promise to pass them on.
It's the very least we can do....