On this Veterans Day it is a fitting time for me to thank two more people who served our country faithfully and who have loved and invested in me, even at a distance: my grandpa ("Pa") and my uncle Jim.
While Pa died many years ago his influence continues in my life. He was a World War 2 veteran who survived a deadly attack on his platoon and then imprisonment by the Germans. It was not until years after his death, following my first viewing of the film, "Saving Private Ryan" that I really began to appreciate what he had sacrificed in the horror of war and captivity. As a Grandpa he lovingly played with me, made things for me, sang with me and showed me how to enjoy the simple things of life. Thank you, Pa, for showing me love and happiness in spite of the hate and sadness you experienced.
My uncle Jim is still very much alive. He is Pa's son and so when we made the long car trip from Maryland to Ohio, as a kid, I looked forward to an uncle who loved to play, laugh and tickle me until I cried. In later years we competed in sports and had long talks from time to time. In the late '60s he was drafted in the army and served a few years in Vietnam before finally retiring as a Lt. Colonel. In the army God gave him the opportunity to mentor and train many men who were no doubt influenced by his Godly character and witness. My respect continued to grow over the years as I followed his career in the army and then into ministry. Even today, I wanted to call him, but he is in Nepal, still in ministry, spreading the love of Christ. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for sharing your love and wisdom with me. I am honored to be your nephew.
Honoring these two men, I must ask, who I am influencing today through the love of God?