Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today is the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. One minute in time that changed the lives of a nation.

Today, take a moment to remember those who lost their lives that day and the men and women of our military who have been fighting ever since.

Take a moment today to thank the soldier you see in coffee shop, at the mall, at the local restaurant, or wherever you may see one. Thank the veteran who fought before. Thank the young men and women who have enlisted since 9/11, and all of those men and women who proudly serve.

I remember with chilling clarity the minute my son told me he wanted to enlist. He was a senior in high school – what did he know? Obviously, more than I realized.

I asked him “Why? Why do you want to enlist?” His response was simple. “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

There was a lump in my throat, my blood ran cold, and my heart swelled with pride. I was afraid and proud all at the same time. I tried to convince him not to enlist. But he had made up his mind. He had not even graduated high school and he wanted to go off to war, to defend our country because it was the right thing to do.

He is not special or unique to anyone except me, his brother and to his wife. He truly is MY HERO. He made a choice I can honestly say I don’t know that I would have made, and he made it because it was the right thing to do. There are hundreds of thousands of young men and women just like him who made the same choice.

They are heroes. They are my heroes, even if I don’t know them personally.

They chose to enlist in a time of conflict. They made that decision on their own. They were not drafted; they were not told they HAD to enlist. They enlisted knowing all of the possibilities, knowing the costs and the sacrifices. And still, they chose to enlist.

You do not have to support the war to support the men and women in the military. So, today, take a minute and remember those who defend the blanket of freedom we hold so near and dear to our hearts. Today, if you see one of our military in uniform, tell them thank you. When you are in Starbucks, or your local coffee shop and see one of our brave soldiers, buy their coffee. When you are lunch or dinner, pick up their tab. If you don’t like the idea of buying coffee or a meal for someone you don’t know, then just walk up them, shake their hand and just thank them. Take a minute out of your day to simply say “thank you”. It means so much to them to know that they are appreciated, that what they do matters.

A small token of appreciation for these men and women goes a very long way.

Do you still need a reason to approach a total stranger and perform a random act of kindness? Well then do it because it will make you feel good. It will make your heart swell when this soldier looks at you and says “it’s nothing” or “you’re welcome”. You will be floating on air for the rest of the day to know that YOU made a difference in someone’s life for the day.

And, my challenge to all of you for today and the rest of the month of September . . . make 11 cards – they can all be the same or all be different – but make 11 cards, write a note to a soldier in each card, and send those 11 cards to 11 soldiers. If you don’t know of 11 soldiers, check out any of these links and send your cards to these individuals or organizations. I promise you, they will get to our military men and women. So, you don’t want to send the cards off to one of these folks, email me, send them to me and I will get them to our soldiers.

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