Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Brief Moment, A Lasting Impression.

 Psalm 103:20, ISV
Bless the Lord, you angels who belong to him, you mighty warriors who carry out his commands, who are obedient to the sound of his words.
As Veterans Day approaches I can’t help but think of a young soldier who we met for a very brief moment. His small gesture made a lasting impression on Ryan and I.  
It was near the end of the school year, and the 5th grade band which Ryan was a member was to put on a performance. This year had been a difficult year. Ryan lost a lot of physical strength and could no longer walk.The wheelchair became part of his everyday life.   He was very conscious of the wheelchair and was not ready to be on a stage in front of people. 

I understood his fears, but continued to reassure and encourage him to participate. He worked hard, in spite of his limited strength, to learn how to play the songs on the clarinet.  Although still nervous, Ryan was able to fight through extreme anxiety and fear to participated with his class on the night of the concert.  I know it was hard for him. I witnessed his battle to overcome  fear and anxiety, but he got up there and was amazing. I was so proud of him! 

After the concert while we were waiting for the gym to clear, a man in a military uniform came up from behind, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Ma’am, can I give this to your son”? In his hand was an American flag patch that he had just removed from his uniform.  Not sure what to think I replied with a very hesitant "yes." The young soldier walked over to Ryan, bent down and shook his hand.  This young soldier proceeded to tell Ryan he did a great job, how proud he was of Ryan and that he was very brave.  While he was speaking he handed Ryan the flag. He turned to me to say good bye then headed back to where his family was waiting.  Ryan opened his hand to show me the flag.  That is when I  noticed the flag had 2 medals pinned to it. 

I knew medals were given to military personnel for specific achievements or events but did not know what these 2 medals signified.  Later that night we got on the computer to look up the significance of them.  

The parachute medal symbolized that he was assigned to an airborne unit and had participated in at least one combat parachute jump.  The second medal a Combat Action Badge, provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engaged with the enemy or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty. 

Ryan was confused. He asked, "Why did he give this to me?"  I replied, "These medals were given to him in recognition of his courage and bravery in battle. Maybe it was his way of letting  you know he sees you, and recognizes you are fighting a battle too. A different type of battle but one that also takes bravery and courage." 

This young soldier had probably gotten off of work just in time to make it to his child’s concert. Yet he felt a nudge to stop for a brief moment, to reach out and encourage Ryan.  He had no way of knowing how much fear, and anxiety Ryan battled through to get up and perform that night. Yet I have a feeling he understood Ryan’s battle far more than I could or ever will! In the same way the soldier was awarded these medals of honor for his bravery in war, he saw that Ryan deserved recognition for his bravery, not only because of what he was able to overcome that night, but in Ryan's life long battle. .       
 “The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Heavenly Father, 
I thank you that you sometimes send special angels into our lives to give us moments of  hope and encouragement. I pray a special blessing over this soldier that touched our hearts. I also pray protection and strength for all our service men and women who so willingly serve our country.
In Jesus name I pray,

Donna McKenzie  

photo credit : Donna McKenzie


  1. Well written, encouraging, and reassuring knowing that God sees us in our daily battles of one kind or another.

    1. Isn't God awesome that he finds unique ways to show us that he is here even when we feel alone? I think that if we purposefully look we will see that he does this for us more then we recognize!

  2. Well written Donna; and very touching. Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. That is an amazing story...so touching...

    1. Some times it takes time and perspective to see how much God is working in our everyday lives. Sometimes it is the little things that mean so much!