As I looked around the high school auditorium during the community Veterans Day program Friday, I was awakened to something powerful that surged quietly below the fanfare of a patriotic event.
In the audience I saw the expected crowd of uniformed veterans proudly representing their branch of the armed forces and their country.
What struck me this year was not just the sight of the soldiers, but the many couples who stood side-by-side, arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand.
Here was the true strength of America -- not just the men and women who swore an oath to protect and defend this nation, but the couples who made a sacred pledge to each other and their children.
A pledge of commitment I fear is not so common among younger generations.
After the program I stopped one couple, Chuck and Pat Johnson of Payson. Chuck wore the dress uniform of a sergeant major in the Marine Corps. The Johnsons told me they have been married 53 years. They expressed a deep commitment to each other and to this country. I was touched by the sincerity of their words, which are witnessed by a lifetime of enduring love.
They too expressed a concern that young people today may not fully understand what it means to stand by your marriage and your country.
I believe it is all too easy to find fault with our government or its leaders, or to point out what's wrong with America.
I am grateful for the unyielding example set by the men and women who came before us and stayed true to love and country. I pray we will do the same and that we will work to strengthen our families as well as our nation. One without the other will leave us standing on a shaken foundation.