A thoughtful moment...

In case you missed all of the media's coverage, yesterday was Veterans' Day. Now, I don't celebrate Veterans' Day in the sense that I celebrate Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day...there's no special meal, no decorations and so on. But on Veterans' Day, more than any other, I spend a lot of time being thankful for the veterans of our country, including both of my grandpas, my dad, some close friends and my husband, who is actually still serving a Reserve commitment for a couple more years. It makes me very proud that these men in my family and circle of friends have served our country and worn their uniforms with pride and courage. But above all, I am grateful for their sacrifice, and the sacrifice so many others make, for our freedoms.

I felt this gratitude very strongly last night, watching the end of "Saving Private Ryan" on ABC. (Storyline: A group of soldiers led by Tom Hanks are dispatched in Europe during WWII to find and bring back safely a soldier whose three brothers have all died in combat and who gets to go home because he's the sole surviving son.) Rarely does a war movie move me to tears, but this one did. Even though I have seen the movie dozens of times, and know the ending, the combination of its poignancy and the day gave me pause. At the end, as he and others in that group are dying, Tom Hanks' Captain Miller tells Matt Damon's James Ryan to "earn this", to live a life worthy of them risking so much to save.

It made me wonder how much of our freedom we take for granted...once or twice a year, we celebrate our military personnel, but what happens the rest of the year? Do we say a small prayer of thanks every day that we have the rights we have because of men and women willing to die to protect that right? Do we take advantage of those rights and make the best use of them? Do we "earn this"?


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