Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It is a cool, sunlit day and as I scan the faces of those in attendance at today’s Remembrance Day ceremony, my gaze falls upon one person in particular.

He is not standing with the throngs that have gathered to honor those who serve and who have served.  He is elderly, perhaps 80’s or 90’s in age and is in uniform.  The sun is behind him and casts him in shadow as he stands on a small hill overlooking the ceremony.

He stands alone.

As I listened to the prayers and speeches being made, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.

Was he thinking about the horrors he may have experienced?

Perhaps he was remembering the good times that also manifest in the midst of the nightmare of conflict.

It’s possible he was thinking about his comrades – his brothers-in-arms who went forward together and experienced times of mirth and moments of horror.

His comrades and many other men and women sacrificed much to preserve our freedom.  They are part of a fellowship that those of us who have never served will probably never understand or truly appreciate.

When the ceremony was over, I looked in his direction with intent to walk over to him.

He was gone.

Seeing this man and pondering what he might be thinking got me to thinking about fellowship in general and how much we cherish those whom we serve with.

We often take the concept of fellowship and camaraderie for granted.  We reach out to people once in a while with a cursory “how’s it going?” and often receive a perfunctory “fine”, “good” or something similar in return.  We often respond in the same manner when queried.

When I compare the depth of the fellowship that those who have served have compared to many of us in today’s society, it makes me realize what a gift their fellowship is.

They knew that they could always rely on their comrades.  Their comrades also knew that they could always rely on them in return – no matter what the cost.

How many of us can say this about the people within our circles of influence?

How many people can say this about us?

To those who have served, to those who serve, to the ones who have paid the supreme sacrifice and to all of their families, I say “thank you”.

We not only owe them an incredible debt of gratitude for the freedom they earned for us.

They also offer us incredibly powerful lessons in fellowship and camaraderie that would serve us well to understand and learn from.

In service and servanthood.


For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Fellowship”, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Harry, for your kindness, for your appreciation of these two men.

    Two thoughts immediately come to mind:

    First, I have to believe this man on the hill wants to make sure someone is there who understands why his comrade was silent about his experiences all these years, and why his comrade was never really interested in medals or accolades yet seemed to always walk with his head held high, knowing it had nothing to do with pride and everything to do with Love ... not a love of country, but a love of fellow man ... a love of all humanity.

    Second, I am certain the man on the hill understood and reflected on the sanctity of Life, not because his comrade was dead but because so many had to die for all the wrong reasons.

    You see, those who serve must face themselves, and these thoughts, every day. They, more than anyone, realize peace is not the absence of war. They understand the guy viewed through the crosshairs is not really the enemy. He, too, is a son, a brother, a husband, and a father not unlike the rest of us who wants only one thing: an end to the killing. Only from there can a lasting peace find its place among his children and our children. And only then can the world know the oneness of humanity, and the true power of Love.

    These men, though strangers, simply love one another the only way we truly can love one another: in its purest sense, gracefully.