July will be our annual month of service. This first service project focused on the men and women who protect our freedom and serve us day in and day out. We visited the Alabama Veteran's Memorial (www.alabamaveterans.org) where we picked up trash along trails, cleaned up the memorial, and planted flowers to spruce things up some.
We kicked off the day with a surprise visit from the American Legion riders and their bikes! The kids got to meet these veterans and hear some of their personal stories.
Next we hit the trail to the Memorial to remove dead shrubs, spread mulch, sweep out the Hall of Honor, clean the brick paver memorial, and plant flowers.
Needless to say it was HOT! The kids worked hard alongside veterans and active military. We took a break inside to cool off for lunch and hear from two wonderful lady veterans about their service and opportunities for college and careers via the military.
Next we headed back out to the Hall of Honor to hear from Sgt. David Lee about how the military will pay for your college education and even more career paths that are available. (Also learned that Nike makes combat boots...) He shared his personal story of his mom coming to the U.S. and he being the first to attend college. The kids were full of questions from "What is the largest gun you've shot" to "Aren't your fatigues hot out here?"
Two young high school recruits shared why they joined the military and what it means to serve. One of their grandfather's names was on the Hall of Honor after paying the ultimate sacrifice.
We discussed living a life of serving and how Jesus came to earth as one who serves.
"Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves." -Luke 22:27
We broke up into groups and prayed for the families who have lost loved ones and for those who are currently fighting to defend our country.
We wrapped up the day with some fun and a scavenger hunt chasing historical facts and markers throughout the Memorial! (and hopefully retaining that history!)
It was an incredible day and I think the kids genuinely learned what it means to serve others and that there are careers that allow you to serve others every day.