Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

As I stood at a memorial service today for those who have served to protect our freedom, the skies suddenly opened up and near-torrential rains fell.  A cool wind whipped up as well and many people began to leave while the service continued.

As this happened, a thought crossed my mind.  The brave men and women whom we honor today put their life on the line (and many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice) suffering biting cold that went right through their meager clothing, rain that would saturate and ravage their spirit, disease and vermin that drew the life essence from their body, violence the likes that we could never imagine and hunger and thirst.  Somewhere mixed in all this, they witness miracles of bravery, love, humor and camaraderie.  The highs and lows could tear apart the minds of the average human being. 

The people who have served and who serve are not average human beings.

They serve for their family.

They serve because they are proud citizens.

They serve because they feel compelled to.

They serve so that others may enjoy a life of abundance and freedom.

They serve by choice.

They serve for the sake of complete strangers.

They serve for you and I, whether we are of the same generation or subsequent generations.

As people left the service early, I wondered how grateful we really are and how consistent and deep our gratitude runs.

Those who serve endure incredible hardship so that we may partake in the things that somehow we feel we have earned.

The truth is, we haven't really earned it.  They earned it for us, giving us the ultimate gift of love and sacrifice so that we may live a life of opportunity, hope, love and freedom.

As the rain fell upon us today, I couldn't help but think:

Perhaps the rain are the tears of God, lamenting over how we human beings, with all of our unlimited potential, still don't embrace with gratitude, the incredible gifts we have been given.

I once read a story of Rabbi Baal Shem-Tov, the founder of the modern Hasidic movement, who was overlooking his hometown with his students when the town was attacked by a group of Cossacks.  As the rabbi and his students watched, men, women and children in their town were slaughtered.  Looking up to the sky, the rabbi said "If only I were God".

One of his students asked "Master, if you were God, what would you do differently?".

Looking at his student, the rabbi replied "If I were God, I would do nothing differently.  If I were God, I would understand.".

Thank a veteran today for all that you have.  Who knows where our lives would be today without their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families?

In service and servanthood.



  1. Well done Harry !

    The Canadians thank you and we all appreciated your thoughts.

    All the best as always

    Edison Reis

  2. Hi Edison,

    Many thanks for your kind words. :-)

    Don't forget - I'm a Canadian too. :-)

    Take care,