Tomorrow is a very special day. Veteran’s Day. In an effort to encourage my readers to thank a veteran tomorrow, I’d like to invite you to share in a wonderful church service that was held in my little country church yesterday. I wish you could have been there for the special music, the beautiful remembrances, and the honoring of our members who are veterans, but you will have to just imagine all of that while I take you on a pictorial tour of our church on November 8, 2015.
Veteran’s Day is a time to honor living veterans, and Memorial Day is a time to remember those who fought and died for our freedom. We did a little of both on Sunday, and it was a very moving and heart-warming service. My mother-in-law and another of our sweet members took the time this week to gather pictures and memorabilia and create a beautiful display for us to look at before, during, and after our church service.
Behind the pulpit hung the uniforms of two of our church members who fought in Vietnam; one belongs to my father-in-law.
Papa was an aircraft radio repairman during his time of service. He could always name and describe any aircraft that he saw, whether on television, in the air, or in a hangar. He was so good at it that Madre has learned many of them herself, and loves to point out aircraft and tell us what they are. Papa didn’t serve in any wars, but he served.
Do you remember my favorite hat? As I explained in that post, there was a time when my father-in-law didn’t have much to say about his service. It warms my heart that he is now able to not only speak about it to loved ones, but allow his uniform and pictures from his time there to be on display. He is not a proud man, by any stretch of the imagination, but he is also no longer silent and reserved about his time of service. Thank God for that. Here’s the handsome fella, my father-in-law, “Grandaddy”.
Grandaddy and Grandma have been a couple since before he left for Vietnam. Grandma was surely terrified that he wouldn’t return, or that he would be injured. I can’t imagine having to go through that at such a young age. They married shortly after he returned from his second tour. Grandaddy hasn’t come out of it completely unscathed, but he is a fun-loving man who loves his family and shows it. I feel very blessed to be a part of that family.
LITTLE COUNTRY CHURCH
Our pianist, my good friend Jam-It, played an absolutely stunning version of The American Trilogy as our prelude, right after her adorable grandson presented the colors. Each of our veterans was recognized during the service, and thanked. Our pastor delivered a moving and heartfelt sermon about fighting for ourselves against a cruel and evil world, our earthly desires, and evil itself. He reminded us to put on the armor of God each and every day, quoting from Ephesians 6. I won’t preach to you here, because your faith is yours, mine is mine, and evangelism is not one of my callings. I will encourage you to read that chapter of the New Testament for yourself whenever you feel challenged or burdened by this world.
As all good Presbyterians in the Deep South do, we feasted after the service. We sure love a good pot-luck, and our members are some of the best cooks around. It was wonderful to provide a meal of thanks to our Veterans and enjoy the fellowship that comes with a good ol’ church dinner. Our pastor’s wife decorated the fellowship hall (a small couple of rooms in the back of the church) with festive, patriotic colors and baubles, and we all ate our fill amongst the red, white and blue. I left there full and sleepy, with love in my heart and gratitude for my freedom.
Our church building is one of the oldest structures in the tiny town where I worship. It’s a gorgeous place, full of love, laughter, communion, and music. It is not large or ostentatious, by any means, but it is where I married, where my children were baptized, and where many have gone before me to worship and fellowship. The pastor displayed this legacy that he found in his study: an “honor roll” of church members who served in WWI, presented to the church in 1917. There is so much history in our little church, and I’m thankful for opportunities like yesterday to share some of that history with the congregation.
Thank A Veteran Tomorrow.
Find a veteran tomorrow, and shake his or her hand. Say thank you. My father-in-law, humbly wearing his Vietnam Veteran hat, does not hesitate to approach a veteran and say “thank you”, no matter when or where he encounters one. He is not an extremely outgoing person, so I know that it is important to him to remind those who served that their service is appreciated. If he can do it, surely I can.