He's 20 years old ... his blood runs red, white, and blue ... and he's a proud member of the Virginia National Guard. He's my cousin's son who carries the family's trademark long eyelashes that remind me of my dad ... he is another of those everyday heroes around us who are proud members of America's military force.
He had spent the past year as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Not sure if he would be home in time for our family gathering on Sunday or for the holidays, my cousin got the call Saturday to pick him up at the airport that afternoon ... less than 24 hours before we all gathered together to celebrate God, country, family ... and another year together.
He was a young soldier amongst us ... everyone thanked him for his service and talked with him about Afghanistan ... and the proud American military member shone through as he spoke of fellow brother-soldiers and his experiences halfway around the world. Not one complaint was uttered ... though the temperature got to 120 degrees during the summer ... though the winter was brutally cold ... though he was called on to go over and beyond the normal demands of the human body. It was his duty to his God, to America, and to his family.
We owe our freedom to these unsung heroes who walk among us. Please ... remember our active military and veterans in your Thanksgiving prayers and, if you see one on the street, please thank him or her for their service.
We are grateful.