Paying tribute . . .

 trib·ute

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.

 

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Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to show such respect in my own small town. Is this a cultural tradition where you live?

 

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.

 

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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 . . .

 

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A brick in tribute to Charles will soon join those of other veterans in the under-construction Veterans Flag Plaza in our old downtown. I’m glad he knew before he died.

 

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.
 
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With my most heartfelt gratitude . . .

 

Thank you to the brave men and women of our military—our veterans
&

to the families of veterans . . .

Your great sacrifice does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

 

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With special thanks to the veterans in my family: Daddy, my Favorite Fatigue Wearer, my uncle, nephews . . . and, of course, Charles.

 

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To those of you who’ve been praying for us as we prepare for adventure, thank you. Tomorrow’s the big day, and everything is on schedule! Sign up for new posts via email so you can follow along. 🙂

Comments

  1. Bonnie Bee says:

    Susan,
    …as always, beautiful, beautiful prose.. I am so sorry for your loss, but it seems that Charles will always be a part of your family in lots of wonderful memories. Prayers will be offered up to our Lord & Savior to comfort Charles in His loving arms.. sending lots of hugs to you, my friend.

  2. Some people hold a special place in our hearts forever. We are all so very blessed to be Americans. Hopefully, everyone will learn to appreciate the blessings that surround them.

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