When I first started my job at the Christian Bookstore where I am presently employed, everyone there spoke of Penny.
"Oh, you'll like Penny," they'd say, "she's really nice. She's on vacation right now.
It wasn't until a month later when Penny came back from 'vacation,' that I learned that she was vacating with her husband, who worked in Iraq.
And it wasn't until later I found out that Penny's son had died during a battle in Afghanistan, a battle that incurred while her son's battalion were waiting at a Landing Zone after completing their mission. A mission that included taking food to Afghani civilians.
And it wasn't until a year later (today), that I found myself visiting Penny's church, and watching with tears as she received a quilt made by some very special women.
A quilt made in honor of her son, Phillip.
A quilt made with love and care that has been carried and passed from from generation to generation, and from conflict to conflict, since the Civil War.
A quilt made for the fallen.
I don't know what your plans are for this Fourth of July. I don't even know what my plans are. But I know this: my thoughts and my prayers will be with Penny...and all of those like her...those who have lost the ones they love, while they helped defend, the country that I love.
Thank you, Penny.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.
- John 15:13 (ESV)