As the new Marines celebrated their graduation day with family and friends, we noticed the subtle and overt changes in each of the young men and women.  An obvious change was that each wore a “cover”, a hat in civilian terms, and each was meticulous in being correct about when and where it was okay to wear their cover.  Wear the cover outdoors but don’t wear the cover when sitting to eat outdoors.  The cover was slipped on and off at, pun intended, the drop of a hat.  As I watched these shiny young faces beneath their shiny new covers doing their best to be mindful of protocol I was struck by the thought that these are our protectors, these are our military, these are the latest group of men and women committed to serve and cover us. 

And because my son was one of them, my mommy-heart did a flip and I prayed, silently, fervently, for each one on the grounds that day.  

I watched them with their families, proud, some uncertain in their new roles, some yearning for recognition, some humble, some confident, some cocky, some just so happy to be a part of something bigger.  But each one wore their cover as a badge of honor and I kept noticing these and thinking what it meant to me, to my life, my country.   

I put out a mass email asking for people to send me their Thanksgiving thoughts to send on to my son.  It’s a tradition of ours to share what we are thankful for by writing on slips of paper, folding them and placing in a basket, and then later passing the basket around, picking one and reading it aloud.  The idea is that since he can’t be here and we can’t be there, I can mail these for him to see.  I know it’s important to him as he sent his home last year when he couldn’t be here for Thanksgiving – he wanted to make sure we had his to share.  This year, I want him to have not just ours, but many others to share. 

I’ve heard from people I really don’t know except as business contacts.  I’ve heard from dear ones who have sent a quick blurb to share.  Each has shared a piece of their heart in telling what they are thankful for.  One hit the very essence of why and how our military covers us, why my son and others are there, and how they impact lives and futures of others.   

My wife and her family owe their life’s to the USAF of WWII, who liberated her and her family from 5 years of German occupation in the Netherlands and I and my family from 3 ½ years of prisons and concentration camps under the Japanese in Indonesia.  It is people like us, who have experienced oppression, who realize, that we can’t sit back and (we) have to stop terrorism and fight for freedom.”

Wow.  I am so thankful for this note.  And I desperately needed to hear this.  I know my son will value this as even I cannot.

How proud I am to be a military service family, to have grown up as a military brat, and now to be a Marine mom.  I have always been aware of the military’s purpose in covering  us, protecting us; I haven’t always heard the personal stories like this one.  

Cover.  Shield. Protect. 

I pray for those who serve, those who have chosen to cover us, who have sworn to be the shield between us and oppression and terror, those who offer their own lives to protect us from an evil that most of us will never know thanks to them.  While they’re covering us, God is covering them. 

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Psalm 91:4

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