By Linda Cox

The smile on Daddy’s face said it all. He and two of his shipmates from World War II were sitting on a sofa in the lobby of the Charleston, South Carolina, Holiday Inn. They were reliving time spent on their ship all those years ago, fighting for our country’s (and the world’s) freedom. I felt privileged to accompany Daddy to his reunions and spend time with men from the “greatest generation.” They sacrificed so much for us, yet to them it was simply an honor to serve their country.

As we waited that morning for the rest of our group to join us, a young man walked past with his wife and children. He paused and quietly listened for a few minutes to the men talking, then walked over to the sofa where Daddy and his friends sat. He apologized for interrupting them, asking if he could shake their hands. As he did so, he thanked each for serving our country and told them what an honor it was to meet them.

As I watched Daddy and his friends, there were tears trickling down the faces of those “old salts” even as they smiled with joy and pride. Such a simple gesture from this young man, yet it meant the world to them.

As Memorial Day approaches, why not take a break from the usual backyard cookouts, boating adventures, or various sporting events to remember the brave men and women who serve or have served in our military. Attend a Memorial Day service hosted by a local veterans’ group. Stop by a nursing home and visit with some of the veterans there. If you see a man or woman in uniform, shake their hand and say “thank you for serving.” In some way, let them know we appreciate the sacrifices they make for us.

In Daddy’s WWII version of the Lutheran Service Prayer Book, Psalm 91 is listed as a Psalm of Trust. Today many call it “The Soldier’s Prayer.” May we make this our prayer for them as well.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under His wings you will find refuge;

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes

and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling—

even the Lord who is my refuge—

then no harm will befall you,

no disaster will come near your tent.

For He will command His angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;

you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.”  (NIV)

To all who have served and are serving now, thank you. May God bless you always!