Saturday, November 10, 2012

… a post filled with gratitude


As I think about it. . .
 there is nothing I can say to encompass my gratitude.

But, I know that, "thank you" means more than we comprehend.

I've been substitute teaching quite a bit (at the private school I taught at), 
& on this past Friday, they had a special assembly 
- in honor of Veterans Day & to honor veterans.

It was incredible being among the kids, from the ages of 12 through 18,
singing the Star Spangled Banner - with their hands over their hearts. . .
. . . & then the school choir singing the oft forgotten last stanza of the song, 
a cappella.
. . . the kids still stood - with their hands over their hearts, & you could have heard a pin drop.

One of the things that all the middle school students do
 - is to memorize the Gettysburg Address,
& two of the students, one in sixth grade & one in ninth, 
recited it (in suits & ties!) with the passion & earnest-ness 
that would make President Lincoln, himself, proud. (& all of us teachers teary-eyed!)

Then the principle (himself a veteran), acknowledged the veterans in the crowd. . .
. . . some family members of students (parents & grandparents),
& then he acknowledged the former students who are currently serving.

I have to say - it took my breath away a little.
I remember these kids when they were little freshmen - just entering high school.
I remember hugging them good-bye on the last day of their senior year. . .

. . . I also remembered the first time one of them came back to visit,
. . . in his uniform, & I cried when I saw him. 
I was so proud.

I also remember -  as clear as if it were this past year, 
the morning of September 11, 2001,
. . . & because the department (art) TV was 'housed' in my classroom,
. . . & because there was so much unknown - we (my junior & senior journalism classes) spent much of the first few class periods of the day 
watching the news transpire.
As the yearbook advisor, I pulled out one of the camera's 
& took some photos of the classroom,
. . . kids sitting on the tables (& all the chairs - another class had come in too) 
watching so intently.
I will never forget, one senior boy. . . tearing his eyes away from the TV
. . . turning to look at me & ask,
"Do you think this means that we will be at war?"

It struck me hard, that if so, it would be young men, like him, most likely to go.

. . . & yes, he is that same young man, who seemed so much bigger to me. . .
. . . who stood so much taller, that came back, in uniform, to visit me 
in the spring of the next school year.

Next in the assembly, the principle acknowledged the speaker from last year,
a gentleman, now in his late eighties - early nineties, who served in WWII.
The kids erupted in applause - as they remembered him & let him know it!
I wish I could share with you his smile (accompanied by a tear as well) 
at their show of admiration.

I have chosen a video to share with you in honor all veterans, 
& also in honor of the speakers that spoke at this year's assembly.
One was a former Air Force pilot that flew over 5000 hours in missions 
in WWII, & in the Korean War.
The other speaker was the father of two current students at the school. He is also serving in the Air Force, currently serving from the Air Force base in Tucson, 
- Davis Monthan.

Both men were so wonderful with how they encouraged the kids,
 & taught then what it meant to be a veteran.
Both men also shared the love they have of flying,
 & both shared the admiration they have 
for the Air Force C-130 cargo plane - as both have flown 'her', 
& both refer to the plane as, "the queen of the skies".

This video is one of the reasons she is so loved.

. . . & a reminder of how much we have been given, by so many.
May we all remember, & I pray we all get the chance to personally say 'thank you' to a veteran this week. (. . . or any time at all!)

Thank you seems so small. . .
. . . but we mean it so.


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Just beautiful Bre.
My husband is a veteran and never wants any ackowledgement. So I just have to thank him in other way.

Joyce said...

My dad was a proud veteran and my son-in-law is an Army Captain, a West Point Grad...and one of the best the army has to offer. He has already served a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan and is only 27. What a wonderful tribute. Thank you.

pamkennison said...

thank you so much for the viedo, i'm a mum of a serving member of the Australian Air Force and grandaughter of ventrans now at peace, and i make quilts for our diggers over there as my way of saying thanks. Thank you for this tribute

Vicky said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. There is never too much we can do to honor and thank our heroes, past and present.

MahQuilter said...

So I cried through the whole video. It is beautiful. We have so many family members who have and are serving. At this moment we have one nephew serving in the Marines. God Bless us all!

Louise said...

The veterans , each and every one is a hero for me. They have fought for our country and our freedom. God bless them all. Really enjoyed your very heartfelt post on your blog. I am listening to Max Lucado as I sit writing this. He is discussing his new book Grace with Mike Huckabee. Blessings to you and your Father this Thanksgiving.