Sunday, July 02, 2006
Today my brother, sister, and I visited a church in my community that celebrates our national freedom and honors our men and women of the military, both past and present. The service opened with a 38 piece orchestra and honor guard and salute of the American and Christian flags, followed by a stirring rendition from the choir of the "National Anthem." Then the congregation joined together in singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Following that was the moment I was waiting for: the choir and orchestra performed the "Salute to the Armed Forces" and the emcee at the appropriate moment, called each sailor/soldier/marine/airman to stand and make their way to the front of the stage, to stand next to the flag of their branch. At the conclusion of the number, there were more than 120 proud veterans standing there and the crowd gave them a long, well-deserved standing ovation. My brother was one of those standing there. He served 21 years in our nation's Navy, and I am very proud of him. Thank you, Jerry!
[This is a good time to include other family members and close friends who have proudly served our nation: my favorite son-in-law, Chad, U. S. Airforce; my nephew, Keith, U. S. Navy; my cousin Pat's husband, Pudge, U. S. Air Force; My Uncle Allan, U. S. Navy; and my dear friend, Jim Mitchell, U. S. Army and U. S. Navy - who just this morning finished riding his bike 1,000 miles, which was his goal this year to reach by July 4. Jim, by the way, is 73 years old!]
I'm also extremely proud of my son, Hans, who this day, is serving on our nation's finest destroyer, the U.S.S. Lassen. He's in the Pacific, stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Last week he was part of a huge naval excercise off the island of Guam called "Valiant Shield" which was the largest show of military presence in the Pacific since the Viet Nam war. For me, my son and brother are heros. And on this "Freedom" weekend, I salute you!