About a year ago I was on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Nashville. Upon departure, boarding was slightly delayed as the airline attendants announced that our flight would be bringing a fallen U.S. soldier home to his family in Nashville.  We gathered by the window as we witnessed the very ceremonial boarding of the soldier’s casket on the plane and continued to wait in a moment of prayer and silence before boarding began.

When we arrived in Nashville, deboarding was also delayed.  I was blessed to have a window seat and thus a first hand account of the even more ceremonial removal of the soldier from our plane.  I could see his family waiting, the car that would inevitably deliver him to his funeral and I was overcome with emotion. Along with my fellow passengers, I watched with tear filled eyes as the soldier’s fellow serviceman in full dress uniform proceeded with the stately process; delivering the ritually folded flag to the family.  I watched as the soldier’s accompanying fellow servicewoman deboarded our plane first and greeted the family with hugs and tears.

We walked off that plane in complete silence; stunned and impassioned by what we had just witnessed. Most of us were crying.

Recounting this day still brings me to tears.  Today is Veteran’s Day. A day some of us may treat as a day off from school or work; just another Federal holiday.  It’s more than that.  Whether serving domestically here at home or in harms way over seas, every service member in our country deserves our extreme gratitude.  They choose to do a job that most of us do not have the guts to do. Despite how you feel about our President, Congress or the military initiatives we engage in, you need to thank those who are executing those orders.

If you have not taken a moment to acknowledge what this day represents to our country and those who serve to protect it, do so now.

You are all heroes. Thank you and may God keep you safe.

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