Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.”

Thursday we as a nation honored Veteran’s Day.

A few years ago on Nov. 13, I called my dad to check in and see how he was doing.

“I couldn’t be more disappointed in you,” he said.

I really had no clue what I could have possibly done to disappoint him.

“You didn’t call me on Veteran’s Day.”

Instead of being humble and admitting fault, I became defensive.

“I’m sorry . . . I had no idea you had an expectation that I call you on Veteran’s Day.”

In classic “family” fashion we engaged in a small, heated back and forth exchange which prompted me to apologize when he said, “You have no idea what I and many lived through so that we could have our freedom today.”

And he was right. I had no idea. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and finally retired as a career military because he couldn’t fathom another tour of duty in Vietnam. He never spoke of the wars, but we all knew nightmares plagued him and a deep sadness if he watched any modern films depicting his previous service (“We Were Soldiers,” “Saving Private Ryan,” etc.)

I apologized. My dad (and all veterans) deserved thanks because of the sacrifices made for our freedom.

Roosevelt was right. With freedom comes responsibility. Not just to be grateful but to do something with that gratitude.

I read a quote earlier, “Jesus didn’t say ‘attend me,’ Jesus said, ‘Follow me.'”

Always at West, we try to separate “church and state.” You won’t find us speaking about politics, etc. But . . . as we prepare to go these next few weeks before Thanksgiving, may we be mindful of our freedom. May we understand that as free people, we have a responsibility to do something WITH that freedom. And that “something” we are called to do is not “all about me.”

Let us follow Jesus . . . love all people, and seek to make this world a better place. Today and always.


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