Have you ever looked, really looked, at a soldier’s face? Sometimes it’s young, barely an adult the hopes of youth still painted in its features.
Sometimes it’s old older than faith, older than wisdom, older than time. And sometimes … sometimes it’s a bit of both all at once.
Sometimes it’s gritty and pained, remembering the face of another who has fallen.
Sometimes it’s laughing, pleased to have a moment of peace. Most of the time it’s proud because it knows, oh yes it knows, the world is a different place a better place because of it.
Next time you look at a soldier’s face, see if you can find that glint of pride.
Sometimes it’s hidden, and you have to search it out. You’ll find it in the eyes always in the eyes. For the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, even a soldier’s soul.
And when you’ve carefully examined every feature of that soldier’s face, stand up straight and tall and smile your best smile. Thank that soldier, because it does what some cannot or will not. It defends what it believes to be right with its very life.
But more important, it defends a perfect stranger you.
And when you see a flag covered casket, stand in memorium of all the soldier’s faces you’ve examined. For when one of them falls, they all fall. And when one of them stands, they all stand.
Shouldn’t we stand with them?
June 2, 2006