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Gratitude. Appreciation. Thankfulness.
Philosopher Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."Art historian Johannes Gaertner said, "To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven." Operation Gratitude accepts care packages to send to U.S. troops. The Gratitude Campaign offers a way to quietly say thank you when you see a member of our Armed Forces. There are the GratiDudes with their mission to spread joy and hope through a lesson on happiness and gratitude... and a little dancing. When I first listed this as a topic, I felt it was appropriate because Thanksgiving is coming up for the US, recently passed for Canada. What better time to talk about gratitude? Then Fort Hood happened and my focus changed. Today is Veterans Day. Today, we thank and honor those who have served and are serving our country. This year, with the tragedy at Fort Hood, it feels more important than ever to thank and honor the men and women of the Armed Services. I was listening to NPR's reporting on the memorial service at Fort Hood. What I appreciated is that the coverage didn't focus solely on President Obama's statements. There were a few soundbites. But they shared each piece of the service and described the mood, the people. At the end of the description, they played part of the traditional roll call. At such an event, the roll call calls out the names of present service people who call back. And scattered into the list of those present are the names of those now gone. And silence responds. And I sat in my car and cried. I have so much gratitude for the people and things that surround me. Even when I find myself frustrated or angry or sad... My gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation for my husband, my kids, my family, my home, my friends, my family, my job, my co-workers, my minivan, my dog, my... so many blessings. And there are men and women who have given up their lives so that I can build my life. I used to joke that I had dated almost every branch of the military. Now I wonder if those young men are still serving... are still alive... I have family and friends currently serving. I have co-workers who are Vets. I had intended for today's post to be about my gratitude for important people in my life and ways to share that. I had intended for this post to be about my faith. Instead, it's about the people who defend my country and my right and freedom to have this life, to have my faith. Thank you.