Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thankful for those who serve ~ by Leah St. James

Barbara's post yesterday about the state of the world got me thinking....about the state of world.

Sometimes when I listen to the news, I wonder how I ended up living in a country that cherishes freedoms while others end up in countries with regimes that cherish oppression. I wonder what cosmic eenie-meenie-miney-mo game determines where each soul ends up. And I wonder how I got so lucky.

It is my good fortune, thanks to the determination and sacrifices of the men and women who founded the nation on the hopes of freedom for all.

Before you scold me for glossing over our own moments of shame, I haven't forgotten them, but that's not what this post is about. This post isn't about the politicians who have cut deals and terrible compromises over the decades to appease one party's ideology over another's. I can't change the past. I can only teach my children to do and be better and to try to be better myself.

This post is about those individual men and women who serve selflessly today, and about those who have laid down their lives so that I can live mine.

In my stories, I write about fictional heroes, and I get caught up in their make-believe worlds. In those worlds, the bad guys go away when my last page is written.

Not so for our real-world heroes. They can't just close a book to change the horrors of what they face. I don't stop to think about them, to thank them, as often as I should.

So this Thanksgiving while I sit at the table with my loved ones, I'll be saying a prayer for those serving around the world to keep us safe.

Just for fun, here's a compilation of some of those heroes. They make me smile, and weep a little. They make me remember all I have to be grateful for.

I hope you enjoy.

In this clip, country singer Toby Keith (a big, big supporter of the military) brings a young Army wife on stage to sing American Soldier with him, and to give her a nice surprise.

Here, singer Pink performs a beautiful ballad with her dad, a Vietnam vet, who also wrote the song. What a lovely moment.

In this one, the Cadet Glee Club of West Point performs "The Longest Day," written about D Day. It's long, but the beginning that features an audio recording of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, giving a pep talk to the troops, is so moving. I can't imagine what they must feel listening. (If you've never seen the movie, check it out.)

Wishing you and yours a joyous Thanksgiving, filled with the love and laughter of family and friends.

Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the power of love. Learn more at


Margo Hoornstra said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many heroes there are in this great country. Thanks for reminding us, Leah, of how precious our freedom is.

Barbara Edwards said...

What a wonderful post. Thanks for the reminders of who we are, what we owe to others.

Leah St. James said...

I'm with you, Margo. I complain when I have to "battle" the traffic driving to and from work!

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, Barbara. These videos of the real heroes get me every time.

Jannine Gallant said...

It's important to remember the principles this country was founded on and the reasons our servicemen and women are fighting for them around the world. As Thanksgiving approaches, we should all take a moment to be grateful for what we have and to reach out a hand to those who have so little. Great post!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Well said, Leah. I'm in a hotel with slow internet, so I couldn't see the video...but I gather the sentiment and agree!

Mandy Moore said...

I too am mind boggled at the blessing of being born in this country...and to have such willing and courageous people willing to go into battle to protect our nation and its ideals. Again, I know our country is not perfect, but it is still the only place I would want to live.....and I am proud of how Americans rise to the occasion when there are disasters or people in need. In today's world of reams of bad news it is important to remember that on the whole the "good" outweighs the "bad" by far! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am with you!!

Leah St. James said...

Thanks, Jannine and Rolynn. It is important!

Leah St. James said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mandy! You're right about the generosity of most Americans. There are so many instances of people reaching into their pockets to help strangers. It makes me proud, and it encourages me to give more when I can.

Diane Burton said...

We have so much to be grateful for. How did our ancestors decide to move here? What possessed them to leave their homes and travel to a land they'd never seen? Yes, we have much to be ashamed of. Rather than dwell on that, we should think about the ideals we strive for. And be grateful that we can express our differences.

Alicia Dean said...

Beautiful post, thank you for the reminders. I am very, very grateful to those who have served and are serving our country. True heroes. I enjoyed the clips, thanks for sharing those!