How a Veteran’s Honor Flight Gave Us a Meaningful Life Lesson

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The Honor Flight is an offering showing gratitude to those who have served our country. It is a gift that taught a powerful and meaningful life lesson. #HonorFlight #VeteransDay #ServeOthers #LivewithJoy #Blessings

I’d been waiting all evening for the phone to ring…

My dad was tired and emotional after having spent the day with 73 other American Veterans on their “Final Mission” (I tear up every time I see those words) to Washington DC.

Their ages spanned several decades, branches of the military, and calls of duty … each sacrificing on other shores because they chose to serve on behalf of others . . . for the love of country and countrymen.

Four and a half years ago, my dad was blessed to go on…

Collier – Lee County Honor Flight #16

Collier County Honor Flight’s mission is to transport local Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

Honoring brave military warriors with a day of respect and recognition.

My dad, the cute guy in the cap and a World War II Veteran was one of those honored!

My dad and nephew, Ryan, in Washington DC with Collier Honor Flight for Veterans

Throughout the day, they visited the memorials on The Mall and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetary.

Yet, when I answered my dad’s call that night, he didn’t want to talk about the monuments or the changing of the guard at Arlington. He wanted to tell me about the people. The kindness of the Collier Honor Flight Team who saw to everyone’s needs with joy and enthusiasm.

I think the thing that touched him most was the reception they received as they returned to RSW Airport in Fort Myers . . . captured in this video.

The Meaningful Life Lesson
We Learned from a Veteran’s Honor Flight

There is JOY in serving others!

Is it possible that finding joy in serving others could be the uniter of our culture divided by ideology, stereotypes, social identities,  etc?

Paul wrote to the church in Galatia:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. 

Galatians 5:13–14 (MSG)

To the church in Rome…

 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

Romans 12:10

As I think about Paul’s words and the JOY of service, I’m wondering—what if…

  • we looked at one another with kindness and got to know hearts before we judged and canceled?
  • we looked up from our devices and saw faces?
  • we made serving one another with joy a priority?

Imagine how we could impact our communities if we intentionally served with joy.

The Honor Flight is an offering showing gratitude to those who have served our country. It is a gift that taught a powerful and meaningful life lesson. #HonorFlight #VeteransDay #ServeOthers #LivewithJoy #Blessings

A Prayer Of Thanks for Veterans and that
We Might Follow Their Example of Service

Father, thank you for the countless men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect and defend our country. They have left their families and faced danger, injury, and even death for the sake of others. We also thank You for those who sacrifice their time to show honor and respect to our Veterans. Thank you for the way they serve others with gratitude and joy.

Lord, forgive us our tendency toward selfishness and help us to follow their example. May I look for ways I can be a living example of Your love by serving others with joy. And may I openly live with gratitude and love. Paul wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do His work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him.” (1 Timothy 1:12) I give myself to You. Please help me joyfully serve others for Your glory. Amen.

The Honor Flight is an offering showing gratitude to those who have served our country. It is a gift that taught a powerful and meaningful life lesson. #HonorFlight #VeteransDay #ServeOthers #LivewithJoy #Blessings

Did you know you can easily add joyful service to your day without adding one thing to your schedule?

Here are just a few easy ways to serve with joy…

  1. Look everyone in the eye and smile.
  2. Open doors for people.
  3. Offer to pray for someone and do it.
  4. Stop to help where you can. (I’m tall. I love reaching things off the top shelves at stores for those who can’t reach them.)
  5. Pass the first shopping cart to the person behind you and use the next one.
  6. Pray and ask God to show you where He wants you to serve with joy!
  7. Listen carefully.
  8. Be kind and say, “please and thank you.”
  9. Be an encourager.
  10. Humbly help someone else shine.

Let’s strive to add joy to serving our families, our coworkers, and our in-person and online friends. We’re going to do acts of service anyway . . . let’s add joy and make it more fun.

Think about how much happier we’d be if we added an attitude of joy to what we’re doing already?!

One more thing to remember…

Our joyful service demonstrates the love of Jesus and that just might be the thing that opens a door to someone wanting to know more about the One who gave everything to serve us and show us God’s love.

A huge shout out and thank you to everyone involved with the Collier Honor Flight #16. A special thank you to Rick Wobbe, for his kind interactions with the vets and their families and Mamie Blue for sponsoring this flight. Our family thanks you all!

And on this Veteran’s Day, an especially huge thank you to all veterans. We can’t thank you enough for all of the sacrifices you have made on our behalf. Thank you for your service.

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  1. Melanie Winter says:

    A beautiful message as we celebrate Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day. Thank you Deb, with love and gratitude to all the heroes across the world.

    1. Thank you, Melanie! It is a blessing to be able to honor those who have sacrificially served. God bless you!

  2. Deb,
    I was at Dulles airport one morning when they brought the veterans off the plane. Everyone was gathered around the gate. When the plane arrived they used fire trucks to form a water display over the plane. It was an honor foe me to cheer on these men and women. Both Veterans and the people helping. I was standing there crying and giving thanks to God for all of these people. We are so fortunate to have so many put their lives on the line for our countries sake❤️ Thank you for reminding us of our privilege to serve others????!

    1. Thank you so much, Donna! What a wonderful experience for you and a blessing for those veterans who participated. God be with you and bless you!

  3. Thank you Deb for this wonderful message for us in remembering our Veterans. My father served this country with pride and have so many others. This country is the best in the world and I am so very proud to be an American and so very proud of those who serve and have served. God bless them all.

    1. Amen, Sue! Freedom really isn’t free and we are truly blessed by those who have sacrificially offered so much that we might enjoy freedom today. We are so very blessed to be able to live in the U.S. Blessings!

  4. What a fantastic experience that was for your dad, Deb! Our veterans are ever to be honored and respected, and I’m remembering all that they have sacrificed to keep this nation free. It’s a debt we can’t fully repay, but we can show them love and give them thanks.

    1. Amen, Martha! There are so many who have selflessly served so that we might be free. It truly is a living example of Christ’s love. God bless you! Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Such a beautiful perspective Deb! Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

    1. Thank you, Eleanor! I’m so glad you visited and truly appreciate that you took the time to say, “hello.” God bless you!

  6. Walt Sommers says:

    Dear Deb,
    Thanks for all your wonderful
    Writing and messages. You are truly amazing. We read them and really appreciate you. I do a lot of writing also, but only limited outlets. God gives me something to note from His word. Again Blessings
    Walt Sommers ???? s

    1. Thank you so much, Walt. Your kindness and encouragement are truly a blessing. Praying for you as God uses your writing to share His love. God be with you and bless you!