Before I started on my OPPAL™ volunteer work today, I stepped out on the front porch to find a parcel left by our rural mail carrier. I quickly noted that it was addressed to me from our Marine and, from the look of the box, it was obvious it had traveled quite some distance to get here.
After a brief feeling of excitement, I was filled with dread wondering what on earth he had sent home--was it valuable and was it still in one piece? I shook the package slightly and heard a bit of a rattle. "Oh, shoot" I groaned as I brought it inside to open and inspect the contents.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Zach's brand new U.S. Marine Corps enlisted dress cap in EXCELLENT shape. True to the tag attached to the bag, these accessories are coated with a "combat hardened" finish which has passed rigorous testing for durability and scratch resistance, strong enough for the toughest forces in the military! Feeling very grateful, I kind of chuckled to myself and started to go about the task at hand for Operation Prayers and Letters™.
Then it struck me...
The men and women of our military are rigorously trained and tested to stand up to the toughest situations while defending our nation, but sometimes they are bandaged up, terribly battered and worn on the outside, and transported home to their mothers, fathers, spouses or other family from some place overseas.
I wondered what kind of panic, heartache, and feelings of fear and uncertainty must be aroused by a parent or spouse's first glimpse of their loved one arriving home from war wounded-a family member whom they love deeply, would protect fiercely, silently worry about, and are incredibly proud of.
But their loved ones are warriors. Even though they may come home physically damaged, the resilient heart of a warrior lies within. They are filled with the determination and drive instilled in them during their training. They prove they are SURVIVORS, still very much here with us.
And I, for one, am forever thankful.