Today, being the Sunday after Veterans' Day, we had a bit of a special recognition before services for those who have served. We had very simple American Flag lapel pins to give as a token of appreciation as well.
What sort of surprised me (to my shame) was that we nearly ran out of pins!
It shouldn't have been such an eye-opening moment, but it turned out to be... I only hope that the congregation saw what I was priveleged to observe from a really good vantage point in front of church.
I asked that, despite their usual humility about public recognition, all those who have served or do currently serve in any branch of the armed forces please rise. Naturally, a few stood right away. And a few more then rose in a careful reluctance. Then some more. Then the really shy. And then a couple of gentlemen who leaned very heavily on the pew in front of them in order to stand under their own power...
Suddenly I was standing before our own division of soldiers, sailors, marines and guards. None of them in uniform of any kind, but the pride and determination of honorable service shining brightly once more in their eyes, if only for those moments.
I shouldn't have been surprised by the numbers. In many cases I'd known of (or at least suspected) their service. But seeing these men stand before me, someone who certainly did not qualify to be giving them orders... well, I think it made me feel just like you're supposed to feel on Veterans' Day.
What a joy it was to then announce to them that the Elders and Church Council had decided to set aside a wall in the cafeteria and devote it to those serving and our veterans. And even though the wall only had six pictures on it as of this Sunday, I hope to see it fill up very soon.
...there's certainly enough honorable faces to place on it.