Monday, November 03, 2008

The Snap of a Salute

I sang for a funeral today that left me grateful and speechless.

Just before the casket lid was closed, a band of veterans from the local VFW unit filed forward to pay their respects. I doubt any of the men were younger than 70. (All the young ones are still off fighting somewhere). Their military steps were sluggish and halting. One by one they strode to the casket, then saluted the US flag folded into a thick triangle.

Pride still rang from their snappy salutes, though their cataract eyes had seen more battles post-war than during active duty. I watched the bent backs struggle to stand erect for their salutes. One frail man, his hat and jacket well-decorated with reminders of his service to his country, raised his hand, but his salute was a limp wave. Sincere, but lacking strength. He'd given it all away--for his country, his family, his community...

I owe that man a debt of gratitude. Tomorrow I'll say "thank you" by voting.

Today I say it by thanking the Lord for those willing to serve.


Eileen said...

How do you sing past the lump in your throat? What a blessing you gave them! And they to you.