girl hugging army father“But I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed.”  Jonah 2:9

As we move through the airports and byways and highways of life let us keep in mind the sacrifices so many Americans made to allow us the freedoms, traditions, privileges, and relative peace we enjoy.

I’m reminded of a story that testifies to my gratitude for the men and women who protect our country, even during holiday times, while we are enjoying a comfortable meal with family in a warm house. The following is a testimony of a businessman:

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo’s, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered, it hit me. I’m not alone. I’m not the only red blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear of reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than six or seven years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He knelt and said “hi,” and the little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.

The young soldier, he didn’t look any older than maybe twenty-two himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for eleven months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about ten to fifteen seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, “I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.” He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying “your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.”

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than six feet away as this entire event unfolded. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it’s good to be an American.

At Christmas time, we see a great deal of red.  Red ribbons, red sweaters, red decorations, red Santa’s, a red nose reindeer, …red is everywhere.

This Christmas every time I see red I will be thinking about those many Americans who gave their lives for this great country and those who stand watch today.  Let’s remember to show our love, gratitude, and prayers to those who are the military service.

May God bless you and your family.

Personal Application:

How can you remember a person in the military and express your gratitude to them for their service?

What do the following verses tell us about encouraging others: 1 Thess. 5:11, Heb. 3:13, Rom. 15:5

Did you know verses on many topic areas such as encouragement can be found on our website and through this link:

Jim Grassi, D. Min.