My dad is 86 years old and still kicking. He still drives my mom to church every Sunday. He keeps all his appointments. Still works around his shop and still loves John Wayne.
He is a veteran of the Korean war. He spent a couple of years in Southeast Asia fighting for his county. He tells lots of stories about his stint in the army. I’ve heard some of them lots of times. I don’t mind because there will come a time when I know I will want to hear one of those stories just one more time and he won’t be here to tell it.
I saw an amazing thing one time, when I was flying somewhere. I don’t remember where I was going and I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I had found my seat and was trying to settle in for the trip when a young soldier sat down in the row ahead of me. His hair was very short and his uniform crisp and clean with no patches or ribbons on it. That told me that he was fresh out of basic training. It was right after the cowards flew the planes into the twin towers and everyone was pro military and pro service.
The soldier didn’t say anything to me, he just sat down and started reading what was in the seat pocket in front of him. Then something extraordinary happened. A business man walked back from first class and said to the young man, “I want you to sit in my seat in first class…I’ll sit back here. The young man was silent for a second and I think he might have tried to protest but the businessman would have none of it. The young soldier gathered his things and headed toward the front of the plane. The businessman sat down in the row in front of me. Honor is an awesome thing.
I remember when the soldiers came back from Vietnam. It was really sad. They were dishonored when most of them just did their jobs to the best of their ability. I actually had a friend who was spit on in the Los Angeles airport when he came home. The distain was horrible. Many of the veterans of Vietnam still live with the torment of that time. Some of them never coming to an understanding of why they were treated so badly.
That brings me back to my dad. We were sitting in a local restaurant recently eating some lunch with my parents when at the end of our meal, a man about my age walked up to our table and stuck out his hand to my dad and said “Thanks for your service.” Dad had his Korean Veterans hat on. The man said, “My dad fought in Korea and I always wanted to thank him for the sacrifices he made and I never did. So I want to thank you.” He gave my dad a gift certificate for that restaurant and shook his hand.
My dad is a softy and got misty eyes for a few seconds. It might sound like that gesture was a minor thing but, to my dad it was major.
The scripture teaches us to give honor to whom honor is due. I encourage you to tell people you know and see who have military history that you appreciate the service they’ve done for their country. It means more to them than you’ll ever know.
I’ve always looked up to my dad and felt like he was a good provider for our family. He was a very hard worker and very consistent in his life as a father and husband to my mom. He deserves the honor that’s due him.