Saturday, November 5, 2011

The European traveler has returned!  The stories are trickling in, and I can't help but smile to hear of all he learned and all that he has learned at home that was reinforced abroad.  Yep, even if he couldn't quite spit out Romulus and Remus names precisely, he did know the legend of the abandoned twins, nursed by a she-wolf, who are purported to be the founders of Rome.

I have marveled that my son had the determination and assertiveness to make the trip happen.  I can even begin to think that Kevin has done something extraordinary, something unique among his peer group.  I can also begin to pat myself on the back that I even LET this kid wander through Europe at seventeen years of age.

Then, in the midst of one of my self-congratulatory moments, it hit me that I'm not unique at all.  I'm not that brave.  My kid has not done something that hundreds of eighteen year olds have never done before.  And I'm not talking about studying abroad.

Whole generations of young men have gone off to explore Europe.  But they didn't fly into London on a commercial jet; they arrived on a transport ship.  They didn't have a debit card in their pocket, but dog tags dangling from their neck.  Yes, there's been plenty of young American men tour Europe - compliments of WW I and WW II. And for everyone of those boys, there was a mother back at home sending him off and wondering when and if he would ever return.

That realization made me doubly thankful to have my son home and grateful to live at a time in history when my child can freely travel Europe, even those countries that I find slightly mysterious (think Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia - now the Czech Republic and Slovakia).  I'm not blind to the unrest in the world, but I'm also not overlooking the blessing it is to have a son who came home from Europe on his timetable and not the schedule of the US Army.

As we approach Veteran's Day on Monday, I'm thankful for those who currently serve and have served our country.  It's their devotion that has paved the way for my children to experience a world with a freedom few people in history have ever known.

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