Nowadays, whenever we go on vacation, it is usually just the two of us. Needless to say, our trips are a bit less boisterous. And our activities have changed as well. We talk to one another a lot, listen to our favorite music, enjoy audiobooks, and similar such activities as we roll merrily along.
One thing we like to do these days is to show our appreciation to a group of very deserving individuals. We printed out a sign on a standard 8.5” X 11” piece of paper with the following words: THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY!
As we travel along, whenever we see a car with a tag, bumper sticker, rear window sticker, or other marker identifying the driver as a veteran or active duty military personnel, we toot the horn and hold up the sign for him or her to read.
This simple little gesture has proven to be most rewarding. It almost always elicits the biggest smiles from these men and women in return. And well it should. For without them, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice, we would not enjoy the freedoms we do today as a nation.
In your vacation travels this time of year, especially as we approach Independence Day, why not try this simple little act yourself. You might be surprised at what a blessing it turns out to be, not only for those to whom you show it, but also for you as well.
I leave you with this well-loved and oft quoted poem, written by Charles Michael Province…
It is the Soldier, not the minister,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.*
NOTE: This poem is often incorrectly attributed to Father Dennis Edward O'Brien. Father O'Brien apparently sent the poem to Dear Abby, who incorrectly attributed it to him in her column. According to Wikiquote, before his death, he was always quick to say that he had not actually written the poem, but had only sent it in by mail to Dear Abby.
See also: http://iwvpa.net/provincecm/.