Last Friday I had the honor of attending Van Alstyne Middle School’s annual Veterans Day program. This being my first November in Van Alstyne, I did not know what to expect as I made my way down the school hallways in the direction of the cafeteria. I hushed the heels of my boots as I noticed the room was softly lit and the voices were set to a murmur.


What was usually filled with children swapping nuggets for pudding cups was now brimmed with seated parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, babies and friends. I found my place standing near a column so I could see the stage from a distance and watch the crowd. What I saw touched me as much as the words spoken into the microphone.


Rows and rows of crew cuts; some sparse and faded grey, others black and thick. Men and women in freshly pressed uniforms from different branches and eras. Others in street clothes, but their veteran status still wearing them proud. Some were there to remember a loved one. Some to simply honor America.


These veterans — these heroes — their feet touch the floor the same way; yet the paths they have voyaged are generationally different. Even still, as I was glancing upon the crowd, I couldn’t help but think perhaps their hearts are holding very similar emotions: They have seen what time does not allow you to easily forget.


When these veterans stood to be recognized for their service, some could no longer straighten their backs while others reared as giants. Even so, they rose as brothers and sisters. Their message was clear: honor and dignity has no expiration date – no finish line for the brave of heart. Valor is not diminished by the weakening of the flesh or expanded by the broadening of the chest. No. Their bravery is in their will. Their strength remains in their love for their fellowman, their country and their God.


Some eyes never appear to grow old; they just continue to share a story, a piece of a journey which leads them to the present moment. When these veterans began to shake hands with one another there was no age, no grey or muscle, nothing but selfless service, respect and a genuine pride for our great home.


As I wiped away the tears from my eyes, I was reminded how proud I am to live in America. May we each follow their example and band together as brothers and sisters and give a clear message of honor and integrity in how we treat one another, our leaders, and this beautiful country.


God bless America.


Matthew 12:25 (NIV) says, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’”


SGLY, dear readers.


(Smile, God Loves You.)


Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@amtrib.com. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook.com/tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.