America's military is at war while its citizens are at the mall." -Ronald Winter
Doug and I are spending our holiday with daughter, Jessica, in Athens, GA. We were touched with the spirit of gratitude that is Thanksgiving as we witnessed Altanta give standing ovations to the soldiers assembling in the airport preparing for overseas deployment to war. The rest of us felt hassled by plane delays and crowds at the rental car counters so it was good to have things put in perspective. We arrived safely from our travels to enjoy a delicious meal Jessica had prepared for us. We said a prayer for the young men and women's safety at the airport and Doug said Grace over Thanksgiving dinner. We spoke about how fortunate we are, acknowledged how happy we feel.
As a family, we discussed again our desire to give money in honor of Christmas in ways that would be most meaningful for us. We have made several attempts to simplify holiday excess in the past. Last year, we proposed a family donation to a military charity in lieu of a gift exchange. Not everyone was excited to do so and we subcumbed to traditional gift giving and made a personal family gift. This year, we will find the courage of our convictions to do the right thing.
Our holiday dollars will go to the Fallen Heroes Fund . We will make donations in honor of our family and friends but will be refraining from gift exchanges except in a few circumstances. Knowing that there are family and friends who will still send a gift, we are looking for ways to donate these items to military families in need as well.
I have some truly poor relatives but my immediate family, extended family and our friends enjoy a life full of riches. We have comfortable homes, drive nice cars and take great vacations. I can't help but believe that the energy, time and money expended to express Chirstian love might be better if diverted to those most in need of benefits or most deserving of receiving.
Doug and I are usually partial to organizations that help children, particularly with regards to literacy and education. Yet with the state of the world, we recognize that our well being, our very way of life is secured everday by the ideals, work and sacrifice of America's Armed Services.
This holiday season, we will break from hindering observations and obligations to honor the Christ that lives in us as well as the people who ensure that we may practice our Christain beliefs without harm coming to us and our homeland.
May God bless America's Armed Services as He has blessed my family and our friends. While we have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it is to them we are most grateful.
Arlington National Cemetery 2007
UPDATE: A reader named Rog alerted me to some questionable practices of our favorite military assistance charity, Salute Our Heroes. He forwarded an article from Forbes that outlined fund allocations we were not comfortable with. We have found a new organization, the Fallen Heroes Fund and I have revised this post to reflect this new course of action. We are most happy that 100% of the fund go to military personnel and veterans and all administrative costs are paid by Trustees.