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Blog Post #18: Proud to Be An American

Patriotic | Veterans | Gratitude | Service | Duty | Honor | Country

Monday, November 11, 2019 by Carol Kurivial

Patriotic art...The Pledge of Allegiance...students' angelic voices singing passionately for their country...prayers of gratitude for our veterans...introductions of those who have served in the military from our community and beyond...a taped video from a past West Point grad who has been preparing to and/or serving our great nation since graduating from high school in 1999...a patriotic story read by the principal....Kristen singing “Proud to Be an American” and just lots of heart permeating the St. Patrick’s gymnasium this afternoon as we all paid tribute to our military veterans.

We take a lot for granted. And that’s just one reason why it is so important to honor those who have served on Veteran’s Day. The young man in the video (I didn’t catch his name) shared that only 0.5% of Americans serve in the military and protect our freedoms for the other 99.5%, and that stat gave me pause. Just one more thing for which to be grateful.

My own father served in the army during the Korean War and I’ve heard a few stories. (Not from him, as, ironically, he died in a winter storm accident when I was only four.) But I remember that a few friends and family members have shared over the years how hard it was for him to be away from home and family, especially during the holidays. In fact, one of his old high school friends and army buddies was at my Grandma’s 100th birthday party a few years ago and shared how he and my dad were in two different units stationed not all that far from each other. He said that on one Christmas Day while serving, my dad was able to get his hands on a jeep. (It helped that his particular job was to drive generals around.) The friend shared that my dad somehow found his camp and drove them both to a restaurant of sorts, where they sat together, sadly and tearfully, missing their families back in Ohio, and wishing they could be home for Christmas.

You wouldn’t know it from all the pictures of my dad from his army days. In almost every picture he’s wearing a handsome smile and looking quite happy, accepting, and courageous.

I think my story is probably similar to many of your own. Stories of tolerance, bravery, and patriotism...stories of serving with honor and commitment and courage.

We may not be serving in the military, but protecting others’ freedoms is something we all have an opportunity to do on a daily basis. What freedoms do you enjoy? Whether we realize it or not, some of our main freedoms are: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government.

I’d like to suggest that we all take a moment or two today to ponder the freedoms that we might be taking for granted and ask ourselves, what are we doing to further the cause for freedom in America and in every aspect of our blessed lives? We can and should be proud to be an American, but we should also be proud to say that we, military or civilian, are making a contribution to the great cause for freedom. For IF tomorrow all the things were gone you’ve worked for all your life, and you had to start again with just your family by your side, would you thank your lucky stars to be living here today, ‘cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away...or can they?

Please pray for our nation and world, stand strong and courageous, and do what you can to make our nation forever free, from wherever you stand and with whatever gifts you have been given.

Thank you to all who are, and who have ever served, our great nation! You are to be applauded and honored for your sacrifice.

May God continue to bless the U.S.A., and may we all take His blessings and make the sound of freedom ring!

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