A Debt of Gratitude

This morning I had the privilege of attending the Cowboy and Bikers Church service at the Vietnam Memorial Tribute Wall in North Platte. If you ever have a chance to visit a traveling wall, I encourage you to do so. I have not yet had the chance to visit the original Wall in Washington, but I can only imagine the impact.
The service itself was extremely moving, as was watching the many people who visited the wall during the service. This particular traveling wall has a wall of dog tags representing those service men and women who have lost their lives in the global war on terror. Especially tough to see is the six lines of dog tags representing the hundred who were lost during the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon. President Reagan presiding over the memorial service for those killed in the bombing is my first real remembrance of a President in action.

Also included in this wall is a tribute to those Americans lost during the attacks on 9/11, and a tribute to fallen police officers and firefighters. So many Americans who have lost their lives defending our country against enemies, or innocently going about their daily business, only to be struck down by an act of terrorism, or protecting their communities against crime and calamity.

I came away with a feeling of gratitude but also one of insignificance. Here am I, whose mission in life I have proclaimed to be "helping people have fun", standing alongside those who have given their lives for my safety and freedom, and I came up short.

I love the life I have chosen to live. I give, but not significantly - I try to share the wonderful life I live here in Nebraska with the world, I open my home to wayward couch surfers and traveling musicians, I bring music to my community in the form of House Concerts. Other than that, I simply do the things that I love to do, with people whom I love. Really pretty selfish on the whole.

Just an average American leading an average American life, owing a huge debt of gratitude to those who chose to lead an uncommon life with uncommon courage, ultimately giving an uncommon sacrifice.

So... thank you.


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