November: Two Powerful Days of Reflection

In November there are two very powerful days of reflection. One just passed, Veterans Day. And one coming up in 10 more days. Thanksgiving. The following video drives home some powerful points to reflect on for both.

These are secular holidays. These are days that effect all Americans and have so much to do with how we came to survive in this land, and how we continue to do so thanks to those who make sacrifices for our freedoms.

Thanksgiving is a no brain-er. It’s gotten enough marketing over the years that it’s a household event in every home across the nation. Most everyone has a turkey to celebrate, gets together with family, and talks about giving thanks for the important things in life.

I can honestly say that until recent years, Veterans Day didn’t have as much of an impact on me.

As a kid it was one more day off of school. That was cool! And as a young adult it probably passed often without any ceremony or moment of reflection. No more days off, a lot less PR, and most importantly I think I, like so many Americans, was so removed from Veterans that it didn’t have a direct influence on my life. I was very distanced from anyone who served and I didn’t realize the full ramifications of what veterans have gone through, and how they’ve impacted my life and my freedoms.

My own personal epiphany happened about 5 years ago.

I never had much direct contact with anyone in the military until I met Chris, and his amazing family with a long history of serving in the military, for our freedoms. A member of his family has served in just about every war we’ve gone through to create the freedoms that we are thankful for on Thanksgiving. And that many take for granted. I’m reminded every day of the sacrifices that our veterans go through when I see Chris dressed in his uniform every morning.

When I hear about the hardships his friends are dealing with away from families, newborns, wives and lives as they head off to Iraq and Afghanistan, it reminds me that they are doing this for me. And for people like me.

Until meeting Chris this never effected me, but often I’ll see men and woman in uniform and I get a lump in my throat. Because now I know better. Now I am aware.

Being with Chris over the past 5 years has been an awakening of understanding and compassion toward our troops and what they go through. The following video from Ex-Con’s Thanksgiving apology to the troops drives home the point that not everyone immediately realizes where our freedom comes from or what it means to have men and women sacrifice for us on a daily basis.

But when we have that epiphany it can be a powerful moment. It can be a turning point for some and a way to look into ourselves and ask, “What kind of difference can I make? Many people out there are sacrificing for me, doing something for me. What can I do to give back?”

This is worth a watch. What are you thankful for? Do you see places in your life where you already give back to others like the soldiers do for us? Is there more that you’d like to do?