Great Uncle Vic was married to Ruby only one year when he enlisted as a US soldier during World War II. He was probably younger than me when he came home on furlough and convinced his sister-in-law, Naomi, to go bowling with them.
"C'mon," he said. "This may be the last chance you get to bowl with me."
Naomi told me this story recently, adding, "I think he already knew somehow."
I couldn't fathom that era of Naomi's life—one in which she sent four brothers off to war and ended up comforting a suddenly widowed sister. I couldn't fathom the courage and psychological solidity of my grandpa and his three brothers, setting off for lands they'd never seen, not as visitors on vacation, but as defenders of a nation.
I couldn't fathom a young man who stood aware of his own mortality, his own odds, and still confronted the enemy for the sake of something larger than himself.
The fact is, there is so little I can fathom about the sacrifices made by our veterans, by our soldiers and their families. To be honest, military life is pretty unfamiliar to me. The men and women I love most remain securely within my grasp, and I too often forget that there are soldiers—past and present—who have dedicated their lives to the defense of my country and the betterment of my world.
How humbling, when I really think about it, that I am protected by someone I have never met. How humbling to know that while I ruminate on the grueling life of a writer, working into the wee small hours to meet a deadline, I have the freedom to write the words I choose thanks to generations of men and women who have bought and protected that freedom with their their time, their energy, and sometimes their lives.
On this Veterans Day, I thank God for His soldiers—for the courage he instills in them, the talents he gives them, and the amazing spirit of sacrifice and purpose that can only come from Something Divine.
And of course, I thank the Veterans, both present and future, who choose the greater purpose. Your spirit humbles me. Your courage inspires me. May you be abundantly blessed.
- Abigail Wurdeman