a growing appreciation

We’re in the midst of what is often referred to as Federal Holiday season. It’s a stretch of several months wherein there are multiple federal holidays. I won’t deny I enjoy the three day weekends. At the same time, having a break from the normal routine is enough to actually cause me to pay more attention to each holiday.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. Our family didn’t have much planned, other than some catch-up work around the house and perhaps a nature hike to see some of the fall colors. Through the normalcy of the day, however, I was thankful for some reminders about the reason for this particular day of observance.

The first reminder involved friends of ours that lived across the street. We were getting to know them fairly well, and enjoying having someone close by that was raising a family, appreciated similar things in life, and shared many of our same values. It was great having some neighbors with which we could share tools, ladders, and toys, and even help each other with kid duty. However, he is in the military and last week they moved to Germany for three years. We’re selfishly disappointed we didn’t get to know them better, or have more time to spend with them. While I’m sure it will be an exciting time for their family, it is a huge sacrifice for them to leave friends and family and move to an unknown part of the world. And yet that’s a common occurrence around here, impacting all areas of life (housing market, church membership, friendships kids make at school, the number of home schoolers, etc.).

The second reminder came at the Prince William Forest Park, where we went to see some of the brilliant fall colors. It’s a gorgeous area, and definitely a great time of year to visit. While we saw various people throughout the park on the scenic drive, once we got out and walked down one of the paths, we had the place to ourselves. It was enjoyable time as a family (our dog, included). And though we seemed removed from all the noises and sights of everyday life, there was the ominous sound of artillery rounds coming from the neighboring Quantico base. It was hard to shake the fact there were men and women training for combat while we were out enjoying the colorful leaves.

It was an enjoyable Veteran’s Day, and living here in VA my appreciation for those willing to serve and sacrifice continues to deepen and grow.

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