After my trip to Washington, DC, this spring with my juniors, Memorial Day brings a whole slew of new memories. We met a wonderful Christian man who serves in the military and spoke to us about his life and his decision to follow Christ into the service. We saw several ceremonies of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Each playing of Taps sent chills down my spine and brought a tear to my eye. We spent days going to war memorials, prayer-walking the city and praying for servicemembers and families of those who had lost loved ones.
Each person on the trip was given an assignment: Stop three people in uniform and just say “thank you”.
Each evening, after miles and miles of walking, the group had a debriefing session. To hear these young people talk about visiting the war memorials, Arlington cemetary, the Holocaust museum, and so many other places was simply amazing. I knew I loved my students, but the depth of their insight rocked my world. As a teacher, it blew me away to see them making discoveries about the sacrifices that so many have made for their personal freedoms. Many of them quoted the Korean War Memorial:
Many of them spoke about how a simple “thank you” changed the entire demeanor and body language of the servicemember. Most of them responded with a simple “you’re welcome”, but it was easy to see that they were impacted by the students. The students were also very impressed by the fact that we have an all-volunteer military. All of the people who serve are there because they chose to be, not because they are forced to be serving.
So today, I say thank you to the millions who have served and their families. You are all in my prayers.