The message today comes from Elizabeth Messer whose husband, Lee, was my superintendent for four years. Each morning, she sends a quote to me and other friends. What she sent yesterday was a bit different…a marvelous reminder of exactly why it is that we celebrate Veteran’s Day. I hope what she had to say means as much to you as it did to me:

Today (Sat.) I was in town and began to talk with an old gentleman. He was pleased that a local city was having a program to pay respect to the veterans. I asked if he was in the military to which he answered, “Yes ma’am. I was one of the fortunate ones that returned from the invasion of France.”
This gentleman also said that as bad as the invasion was, the worst part was when they were pulled out, seeing the others go in. So many didn’t get home from that invasion…. and others.

Then he told me about seeing two ex-military men in a restaurant and how he went over to thank them for their service to our country. Later, when they started to leave, they came to his table and said, “Sir, we would like to thank you. This is the first time in 50 years that anyone has bothered to say thank you to us.”

I told the gentleman of one of the big regrets of my life. We had been to the Vietnam Memorial. As we were walking away up the sidewalk, a man in a military uniform and in a wheel chair, came up behind us. I moved all the children to one side so he could pass. “Thank you Ma’am” he said as he passed by.

I missed an opportunity that I have always regretted. If I could go back, I’d say “No Sir, I thank you!” so I ended by saying, “So let me thank you. “

The old gentleman cried and, though it may not be politically correct, I asked if I could give him a hug.

Remember, freedom isn’t (and never has been) free. If you haven’t done it lately, find a vet and thank them… or if you have, it want hurt to do it again.

And to you of my friends who served our country… I thank you for your service.

So this is your quote for this Veterans Day.