Day 482: Red Fridays

I visited my hairdresser today and she showed me a picture of her only son. He signed up with Canada’s military a few months ago and is away from home for the first time ever, in basic training. He’s 18.

Last time I was there, she spoke of him with pride but I could see she was also afraid — of the possibility he’d be sent to Afghanistan someday soon. Although we don’t usually exchange gifts, I brought her a small one today. And I also told her about this story that a friend sent to me. Not sure where it came from originally, but wanted to share it.

Red Fridays

“Last week I was in Toronto , Ontario attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

“Moving through the terminal was a group of 30 to 40 soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

“I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to church, school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said ‘hi.’

“The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her  daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn’t look any older than maybe 22 himself,  said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

“The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Soldier and had been in Afghanistan for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

“When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation,  all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie- talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and  forth on it..

“After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, ‘I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.’ He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying ‘your daddy told me to tell you that he loves  you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.’

“The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people  resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

“Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? To show solidarity and support for our troops and their families. Let’s make Canada on every Friday a sea of red. The first thing a soldier says when asked ‘What can we do to make things better for you?’ is…We need your support and your prayers. Let’s show that support by wearing something red every Friday.”

I might just do that ….

P.S. This song came to mind after reading that story. Enjoy!

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