2017-11-13 / Columns

IT’S JUST ME

How much more noble a banner can one carry?
KLONIE JORDAN — Executive Editor

I don’t know who decides on what dates we celebrate holidays.

I understand some of that is determined through government means and some of it might have been determined in other ways, but whatever the method used, I couldn’t help but notice that it’s sort of ironic that Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day occur so closely together.

And I mean “ironic” in a good way, because if there’s ever anything for which we should be thankful, it’s our veterans.

I have never served in the military, but I have an older brother who served, and I must admit that he is sort of my hero (please don’t tell him that or he will never let me forget it … as if I could anyway).

We get to enjoy the freedom we enjoy because men and women, most of them in uniform but many undercover, put their lives on the line every day to protect those freedoms and make sure we are safe.

You hear that term “put their lives on the line” a lot, maybe so much so that it might have lost some of its meaning. That happens sometimes when words or phrases become repetitive. We use that term when talking about firefighters, and police officers, and our men and women in the armed forces, but when we say it, maybe we don’t pause long enough to consider what it really means.

What it means is very simply this … the men and women who defend our Constitution and our way of life have sworn an oath to do just that:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

They mean what they say when they take that oath and although there are no specific references to “bullets” or “sacrifice” or “lives” in those vows, by declaring allegiance to our Constitution and the orders of the president, our military personnel understand that at any given moment they might be placed in harm’s way.

Our men and women in uniform understand full well that there’s a possibility they might be ordered to take part in a mission that involves them facing the kinds of dangers that could, or would, cost them their lives.

They understand those consequences and they not only agree to them … they swear to abide by whatever orders are given that would put them in those consequences.

Somewhere near you today — whether living next door, or working in the next cubicle over, or eating lunch at the table across the room — is likely a person who has served in our armed forces, who knows full well that oath and understands what it means to speak it, who might very well have been placed in the line of enemy fire or perhaps has even seen a friend or relative fall in combat.

We owe them everything.

What is more precious than our lives and our freedom? What larger sacrifice can a person make than to offer to give up his or her own life, if that’s what it takes, in order that we might wake up each day and breathe the breath of freedom, and hug our children and grandchildren and kiss our mom on the cheek while she’s in the kitchen preparing that Thanksgiving meal that stands as a symbol of part of the heritage that we hold so dear.

This Thanksgiving season, I promise to remember to be grateful to the folks who have donned the uniforms of our armed services and gone to lands far and wide to defend and protect our country. How much more noble a banner can one carry than the one held high aloft by our military personnel?

I still get goose bumps when I hear the national anthem played and those fighter jets fly over.

I swell with pride that I was fortunate enough to be born in a country where that kind of passion for freedom and love of fellow man exists.

Yes, I stand for the national anthem and I place my hand over my heart. That’s the very least I can do to express my gratitude and appreciation for our nation, its military personnel, and everything for which they stand.

I am thankful for those brothers-in-arms and I wish for them God’s blessings.

I wish His blessings also for all who have ever served, and who are serving, to those who protect my loved ones and me and who are willing to sacrifice their life so that I may keep mine.

Thank you, Father God, for your Son, for our nation, for our families, and for all who proudly wear our military uniforms.

God bless the U.S.A.

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