by Teila Hand-Broadnax
As this is our nation’s 100th year of observing Veterans Day, this reflection is dedicated to those who served and to those who still serve our country in various aspects of military duty.
As a child I regarded the day as just a day out of school. As I got older it seemed just another day when mail wouldn’t be delivered, banks would be closed, and the stores would offer great sales.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I helped develop a lesson plan and an observance of Veterans Day. The group I worked with consisted of veterans who had become teachers. What a joy to experience working with them to plan something so meaningful that involved children and veterans sharing time together learning about each other.
What an honor to share in something that wasn’t politically based; rather, it was based on mutual respect.
What a privilege to witness so many veterans walking the halls of a school where they were showered with love and gratitude for their service.
What a pleasure to see the look of awe on my daughter’s face when she realized that her Poppa served in the Navy and that other family members had also served in other branches of our military.
These past few weeks as our country was divided and continues to be divided on the political front, I found myself reflecting on the many wars that we as a nation have endured.
Over the weekend as I walked through the National Cemetery in Salisbury, I saw so many headstones of veterans from all walks of life and from all across the country. I thought of how many families were represented not just here but across the nation and the world in other national cemeteries. I thought about how all of us in some way have been impacted by a veteran, maybe through a family member or a friend in the service. Or maybe through some unknown capacity but whose service helps to protect us and make the world a better place. I found myself wondering; how do we move forward from the divide in our country that threatens to tear us apart?
How do we lift the words written in the Pledge of Allegiance, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” and transfer them to our hearts?
As I reached for my daughter’s hand I remembered that through God all things are possible. Making our way back to our car, I remembered that the same God who is with us through all of life’s battles will continue to carry us through.
Our country has come a long way through the work and sacrifice of our Veterans. And, we have a long way to go.
Might we believe that God is before us to light our path, God is beside us to guide our steps, and God is behind us to catch us when we fall. We will find a way if we acknowledge that we are all God’s children, made in God’s image and fashioned by God’s mighty hand.