This photo used with the permission of Barbara Smith please click the link above to visit her blog!
I realize that Veterans Day is over and 9-11-11 has been long gone however I ran across this photo today and my mind is wandering toward our heroes. As I look at this picture and at the expression on his face I can almost see into his mind and feel into his heart. I see the deep respect that he has for his country. I see a life full of everything you can imagine and some things you could never. I see a man who some of his stories I would love to hear and some would weigh to heavy on my heart to handle.
I once drove my father to Battle Creek Veterans Hospital when I was younger and there was a lot of life I did not yet understand. All I saw was a bunch of old people. That was it. I did not want to be there with the old people but was happy to drive somewhere that I might get to stop, find a place to shop and go out to eat. I was young and just did not yet fully understand life, death, and Sacrifice. I did not understand ALOT!
Jim and I have been to several Veterans hospitals dozens of times since his return. Some know us by the babies that they love seeing. Now what do I see when I go there? I see so Deep that it brings tears to my heart. Sometimes I cannot stop myself but to let it fall. Last summer my family and I were invited to a Veterans event that is held every year in Grand Rapids. As the children went from booth to booth throwing balls and twirling wheels to get prizes I watched.
What did I see? I saw a volunteer helping a blind man who had severely damaged facial features around. He gave up his sight for us. I seen volunteer after volunteer pushing the Veterans who lived the Veterans home around in wheel chairs. They pushed them from booth to booth so they could get prizes just like I pushed my babies in the stroller. There were different prizes though than the little toys my children were winning. They were given T-shirts, underwear, socks, shampoo and things that we take for granted. We get up and grab a clean shirt out of our drawer and if we need another we go buy it at Wal-Mart. Volunteers and organizations were there to give basic needs to those Veterans to show that someone still cares about them. They do this one time a year every year!
So one day a year is Veterans Day. One day a year is September 11th. One day a year they have a party to honor these veterans. All year they sit in those wheel chairs. All year they wait and wish for visitors that don't come, all year, Year after Year until their year’s end. Not only have they sacrificed for our country but they continue to do so.
We were nearing the end of the event and had walked through most everything. I walked past a family pushing a man my husband’s age in a wheel chair. I tried so hard not to look like I was Gawking. When the woman pushing looked at me I wanted to speak to her but I knew I couldn’t. The man was a body in a wheel chair with eyes. He was unable to speak. I looked into his eyes and I could not tell if he was even in there. At that moment I realized that there were not just older men that needed a home in that veteran’s center. There are men and women who never had a chance for their life to begin in that home. There are Men and women who gave ALL for us. Though their names are not on any wall, they are still here in that veteran’s home and among us.
There was also a petting zoo, fresh squeezed lemonade, free hotdogs and cheesy fry’s. My kids loved it but Jim And I both mentioned we would have liked to have been the ones volunteering for the event. Of course it is hard for us to do things of the sort when 3 of our 8 children are under 3 and sitters are hard to come by. Maybe in years to come.
|Would you like to Volunteer?|
The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has many volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups. A wide range of individual volunteer positions is available from popcorn maker to Chapel escort. Groups work in variety of activities depending on the group’s special interests or skills. Whether you can work once a week, once a month, or maybe just occasionally, we have volunteer positions for you.
For more information on volunteering call the Volunteer Office at