Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Belated Veterans Day Thank You

On Sunday afternoon, high atop Twin Peaks overlooking the San Francisco Bay Area, I was overwhelmed with thoughts of gratitude. Knowing that Monday (yesterday) was Veteran's Day, my mind was full of thanksgiving for the privilege of spending a Sunday serving the Lord and preaching the good news without fear. I was filled with gratitude for the privilege of spending the day with my daughter, making memories and sharing wonderful time together.

And I was struck with the recognition that the freedoms which made those blessings possible were the direct result of men like Sam Laird who spent a portion of his life serving our nation to protect the freedom we experienced on Sunday.

Back in June, when my family was in Arkansas, Sam told me how he had chronicled his experiences in the Army for his children and grandchildren. After returning to Fresno, I was delighted to receive in the mail "Centuryman: My Life in the Army During World War II" by Sam. Sam tells the story of his personal experience while serving in the 100th Infantry Division during the war. It is a gripping memoir and a treasured possession within my library.

While serving the Village church for seven years, I was blessed to work alongside Sam. Sam served as one of our elders for four years and, in that time, taught me by example how to be a true shepherd of God's people. I learned from Sam the value of freedom and how to appreciate that freedom as a means to spiritually impact the lives of others for righteousness.

Sam, thank you. And to all the veterans like Sam who served our country, thank you. Whether your service was in war-time, like Sam, or in peace-time, I appreciate so much your sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today. The reality of your service and what it offers us in our current time flooded my mind high atop Twin Peaks on Sunday. I am grateful for your service,sacrifice, and the honor it affords me of raising my daughters and worshipping my God in a free land.