Out of World War II came a story of a mother who had wandered through the woods for three days with her two children trying to survive on roots and leaves. On the third day, she heard some Soldiers approaching and quickly hid herself and the children behind some bushes.

The American sergeant in charge prodded the bushes to see what was stirring behind them. When he saw the starving woman and children he immediately gave them a loaf of brown bread.

The mother took it eagerly, broke it into pieces and gave one piece to each of the children.

"She has kept none for herself," the sergeant said.

Another Soldier asked, "Because she is not hungry'"

"No, because she is a mother," the sergeant replied.

During Military Appreciation Week we honor the sacrifices of our Soldiers and their Families.

We are bound as a community in and outside of the gates of Aberdeen Proving Ground to acknowledge the trials and hardships that our service men and women have made to keep us free from the tyranny we see played out daily around the world.

The whole community surrounding APG, first responders, teachers, social workers, clergy and military are all like that mother who recognizes the privileged to sacrifice for her own and for those youngsters who will recognize that commitment and pass it on to others.

We sometimes think that religion is about believing 'stuff,' and that if we believe the right 'stuff,' then we are safe. Instead our faith seems to be about awareness, about having our eyes opened to the real world and responding compassionately.

On Military Appreciation Day, we celebrate the fact that God, who is the creator of the heavens and the earth, is a God who is continuously offering the spiritual provisions through those who protect us.

Read the words of the scripture,
"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in." (Matthew 25:35) These are words with a powerful message. Our knowledge of this message, is vitally important as we act to share and care for others, especially with those who are numbered among the least of us - the poor, the hungry, the destitute.

God is exalted and is present in every person we meet in the same way the Jesus of Christians knew that God was present in each of us.

Since the founding of the nation, our military has been entrusted with those Judeo/Christian values that have represented the dignity of all good Americans. Our military has represented us well around the world to the least of those who no one would ever care for. We are fortunate to have a military that reflects that which is good in principle and at the very heart of what we are all about as Americans.

As a community and a nation we endear ourselves to all who have served, who are serving, and will serve this great nation, and trust in the mercy of an almighty God who gives us the grace to honor them this day.