Today you are in for a Christmastime treat. I have asked my 18 year-old daughter Mackenzie–known to us fondly as Kenna–for permission to reprint a note she wrote for her Facebook page a few days ago. Thursday, she will post another holiday musing. (And these two days off will give me time to wrap a few presents!!!) I hope you let her words sink in and leave a comment, if you desire. I’ll be back tomorrow for Weight Loss Wednesday. For now, here is Kenna…..
How many times have you heard the saying, or even said it yourself, “Man, the holidays are brutal!” or on the way to the mall or airport, “Careful, you could get killed, it’s crazy out there!”
I find myself saying this all too often. But do we really think about the meaning of the words as we spew them out of our mouths? I know I don’t.
You see when I was talking to my mother today over a few quick text’s between the dentist and a trip to Target, she said that she “nearly got killed” on Black Friday but got the digital camera she wanted at less than half the retail price. I showered her with accolades as I tapped away at my full keyboard, “Get it girl!” I thought nothing of these words, until now as I sit here at this crowded mall just a week before Christmas.
Here I am surrounded by men and women of all ages, most sporting their best Christmas colors; vibrant red, Christmas tree green, sparkling silver, and shining gold. But in the midst of this sea of elegant colors, my wandering eyes keep falling to the muted colors of this rainbow. The small checkered patterns of hunter green and khaki.
You see, over in the corner there is a group of men and women in uniform, and as the “busy people” rush by looking for just the right gift to give to their loved ones, this particular group of people seems calm. This year, as they sit with friends and family, they have already given the most precious gift ever, the dedication of their lives to protect the freedom of ours.
But here, today in this crazy mall, people keep rushing by them. Not even realizing the gift THEY are receiving this year from these humble people huddled in the corner.
You see, to these brave soldiers, the mall on Christmas Eve is not dangerous, the airport near the holidays is not brutal, and getting up on Black Friday to get that one special item they have been eyeing all year is not at all frightening. Why? Because they really have been through war and back. They have given us Freedom, a life that allows us to enjoy the holidays we love so much. Yet how do we repay them?
We walk right by them without so much as a thanks.
Ever since I was young, I can remember my mother going up to every, (and when I say every, I mean EVERY), man or women in uniform and saying “Thank you for serving our country.” Now, of course when I was younger, it only embarrassed me. However, with the loss of PFC Andrew Nelson, a childhood friend who was killed in Baghdad by an IED on Christmas Day 2006, then my working for a military family while their father was deployed, helping to lighten the load of the mother left behind with five young kids, and having many friends, including one of my very best friends, join the military this past year, I see now why she did it and more importantly, why she still does.
We as Americans take our freedom for granted. We take the people who protect us for granted and we take our country for granted.
This has got to stop in the USA.
So with the New Year approaching, I challenge you: whenever you see someone in uniform at the store, the airport, or out to eat, take the two minutes it will require to go and thank them for what they do for you, for your family and for your country.
It will touch their heart, your heart, and the hearts of those around you.
Well, I am off.
There is a group of people I need to go over to and thank.
And this Christmas season, I want to say a special thanks to my ‘other father’ Staff Sergeant Gabe Morse, my assistant Pastor Yeoman First Class Ron Sischo and new enlistees Jonathon Lounds, Jordan Purchase, Zach Smith, and especially Kyle Williams for being part of the group of men and women who protect this country so I can relax this Christmas season knowing I am safe. And I thank PFC Andrew Nelson for giving the ulimate sacrifice three years ago on Christmas Day.
I sincerely salute you all.
Humbly and Respectfully Yours,
P.S. Congratulations to the winner of yesterday’s giveaway: Kate; timestamp 1:23 pm on December 21st