The cold crispy morning compels Maisie and me to dress in our warmest. The sun is barely rising, and frost covers the ground. Fallen lives crunch louder under Maisie’s feet and blades of grass look sugar-coated.
Taking our normal route on the lane, I spy the flag. How can I miss its enormity? My neighbor, a veteran, hung it from an upper deck of his house, it all unfurled in the glory of a freedom it represents.
How can I know the cost of what is free?
I recall the stories my dad told of his time in Europe for 25 months. He knew exactly how long he was gone from home and loved ones. He told the funny tales and the times when God intervened for him. I don’t remember so much him telling the dark side of war.
War has a dark side, and every veteran in combat experiences it to some degree. I sit in my warm house and walk freely on my lane because some put on the uniform and gave their best.
I want to thank them all, thank them for their service and their sacrifice. I want them to know that I value the price paid when giving themselves costs more that I’ll ever understand. I want them to feel my appreciation for every effort they made to secure the life I have.
Is saying, “Thank you for your service,” when I see a soldier even enough? Does that convey my gratitude sufficiently? I doubt it does. But at least it’s something I can do.
And so I say it with a heart of thanksgiving. Thank you for your service. May God shed His grace on thee.