an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration
Two days ago, on a cloudy and cooler-than-usual November day in south Texas, a veteran was laid to rest.
Following a service led by his two brothers-in-law (Renaissance Man being one of them), family and friends drove down country roads from the church to the cemetery. Cars moved to the shoulder, stopping in respect as the funeral procession passed.
At the graveside, the flag-draped casket was moved into place as family and friends watched.
Three uniformed grandsons stood at attention.
Two Marines and one Navy sailor. All in only their second decade of life. Each one struggling to hold back tears.
Rifles fired three volleys. Taps was played. Then the young Marines—brothers—removed and folded the American flag, the respectfully-slow process almost painful to watch.
I am grateful for the kindhearted man who—26 years ago—welcomed me and my two young daughters into the family. A man who—51 years ago—loved and intentionally spent time with his wife’s kid brother—14 years his junior . . . my Renaissance Man. A man who, though perhaps not impressive in the eyes of the world, was an unassuming man of integrity, selflessness, and great talent.
Four years ago, he almost died.
Renaissance Man and I were with his wife and daughters when they made the difficult decision to unplug his life support—and stood in amazement with them when the doctor said,
An hour ago, I would have . . . but I’m beginning to see some possible improvement.
Two weeks later, our family’s miracle walked out of the hospital.
He knew he’d received an amazing gift—and, although health challenges continued, he lived each day to the fullest.
Interestingly enough, nothing in his life changed.
He was already
- loving those around him—family, friends, and strangers alike
- living honestly
- speaking kindly
- honoring relationships
If you had only four more years to live, would anything in your life need to change?
I’ve been asking myself the same question . . .
In this week of national change in the United States of America, may we focus not on what makes us different, but on what makes us alike. May our talk—and the way we live—build up rather than tear down. May we all come together to honor those who have—and do—serve our country.
With my most heartfelt gratitude . . .
to the families of veterans . . .