We were traveling as a family to visit family we had not seen for a long time. Our itinerary required us to have a long layover in a major airport. That in itself is no big deal – unless you are traveling with a small child – then YES, IT IS (AND WAS) A BIG DEAL!
Our son at the time was six. We knew we would be pushed to keep him “entertained and properly leashed” as we sat for some time in an airport full of people coming and going. One strategy we employed was to let our son travel in his preferred gear. At that season of life, that meant he traveled in all his “camo” gear. He had on camo pants, and a camo shirt and even camo shoes. He looked like our little soldier.
But of course camo gear gets you only so far. When you sit and wait and wait and wait with a small child, you begin making up creative games to engage that little wandering mind. We began the game of watching people deplane. We saw all sorts of people. We saw people in business suits obviously coming or going to business meetings. We saw people in vacation shorts obviously coming or going on their vacations. But we also saw people (adults) in camo gear coming and going from deployments around the world.
One such middle-aged soldier saw our 6 year old son (in all his camo gear) staring intently at him. Rather than walk on by in a hurry like the hundreds of other civilians, this soldier who had just deplaned walked directly over to my son.
There was something different about this soldier. His boots were worn. His camo showed signs of wear. His chest was covered with many things pinned to his camo shirt. He got down on his knees so he was eyeball to eyeball with my son and said, “Hey young man, I have something for you.” A crowd began to circle around us and watch.
He took something off his chest and pinned it onto my 6 year old son’s camo shirt and said, “If you’ll wear this for me, it’s yours – will you protect it?” My son beamed with excitement and then just as quickly as he appeared, the soldier disappeared into the crowd and went on his way.
I so much wanted to say thank you. I so much wanted him to know how grateful we were for him being there (wherever “there” was.) I so much wanted to thank him for connecting with my son.
Join me in my gratitude for all those who serve in our armed forces. Our “ALL VOLUNTEER” armed forces sacrifice so much to protect us and others in a world that is “already, but not yet” a Peaceable Kingdom. In this “already, but not yet” time, I am grateful for the warriors. Remember them all and their families in your prayers.