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.

Please bless the stranger
in the faded uniform.

Give him the peace
of a career well-served,
and a service completed.
Give him my thanks
for the doors he opened,
the paths he paved,
the battles he spared us.

Please bless the stranger
in the muddy uniform.
Hold her bold heart
in the calm of Your capable hands,
until she can feel
the peace of home again.
Give her my thanks
for the freedoms she preserves,
the future she defends,
the ideals she embodies.

Please bless the children
admiring the uniform.
Guide them as they grow,
drawing then into Your wisdom,
into Your strength.

Give them my thanks
for all that this world can and will be
because of them—
Your strong and selfless soldiers.

-Abi Wurdeman


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