Today is Veterans Day and to me this day is very special. Growing up I was extremely close with my Grandfather who was a World War II veteran. He passed away about 8 years ago, however the many things he taught me still remain.
Although my Grandfather didn’t talk much about his time during service, he spoke often about how our actions towards other should be. He was a humble man who loved deeply those around him as well as showed grace and mercy to all those who needed it. He was a hard worker, a loyal father and friend. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for what h believed in and yet still knew that there was a time and place for everything.
He believed in the salvation that only came through Jesus but always respected individual’s beliefs. He valued his Italian culture but was proud to be an American. His smile was kind and gentle, but his love for his family and country was strong and real.
My guess is that I just described to many of you someone you know, specifically someone who has served.
I think that veterans are a rare breed, that the ones who fight the scary, in the dark and often alone are the role models for this country. They give us a glimpse of the men and women we want to be. The often have the character we strive to have, and they didn’t just fight for our freedom but often know and understand what is really means to live free.
We live in a country in which freedom is something that I believe we truly do not understand. Because we are blessed to have other fighting for our countries freedom, we lose our personal freedom. In fact, I don’t think most people even know what “personal” freedom is. However, I think our lack of personal freedom is a factor into the way our society is currently living.
Personal freedom is the ability to walk freely day-in and day-out from our selves. Our mistakes, past, fears, unhappiness, struggles and secrets. What is the point of individuals fighting and often sacrificing their lives if we as citizens do not understand how to live fulfilled and fulfilling lives. Today, I urge you to honor freedom and those who have fought for it in a new way, live free. Not in the traditional sense, because this country has been free and by the grace of God will continue to be free. But be free from yourself, live a life today that is fulfilling and that fulfills someone else as well. Forgive yourself for your past, crush your fears and tell your secrets.
My grandfather did not only fight for this country because he wanted his children and grandchildren safe, he fought for this country so that we could have lives that were satisfying all while beneficial to others. He fought for this country so that happiness was not a choice, but a reality.
To all of the veterans today, thank you for fighting, for teaching us how to live and for teaching us that life isn’t just about being safe. Happy Veterans Day.