{gratitude} pilgrims, patriots, and pioneers

Monday, November 11, 2013

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice..."  
- Woodrow Wilson
 In catching up from the weekend I'd like to share my deepest gratitude for those who struggle and fight to gain and protect freedom, especially religious freedom. I didn't realize until recently that I have ancestors that were pilgrims on the Mayflower, patriots in the Revolutionary War, and pioneers that helped tame the early west. We honor those that leave established homes and communities to forge a new life in the wilderness to gain the glorious freedom to live life according to the dictates of their own will. We also honor those that fight to preserve that freedom for our country and to help secure it for others. I have always been able to do this with a comfortable distance from the fray. They were other people's stories and sacrifices that I appreciated, but I was glad that task wasn't mine.

However, with the discovery of my legacy and stories of those in my family that have sacrificed much to secure and maintain the glorious freedoms I enjoy, I find myself unable to gain as much distance from the fight as I formerly had enjoyed. These people are/were someone's son or daughter, and so am I. I bet they considered themselves just average people, like I do. They saw a need to stand and defend themselves from people, practices, or policies that hindered their ability to practice their religion and live their life to the full extent of their faith. Don't I as well?

I am not required to make the great sacrifices asked of my ancestors who left their homes and countries to set up a better place. I am not asked to serve in a military force tasked with protecting freedom at all cost, including life itself. But every day I can defend my faith, my family, and my freedom to exercise my belief in good things. I can take full advantage of the rights and privledges that were hard won by others in my name and in the name of our country. I can cherish them and use them with respect and dignity. That is my charge. That is the part I can play to honor and sustain those who sacrifice in my behalf.

So happy Vetran's Day to all who fight for us. I hope to show my gratitude each day by enjoying what they've given and preserved for me.


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