Fourth of July

Today our church dedicated it’s service to a patriotic theme and honored our veterans.

At one point, each branch of the military service was recognized and members of the church who had served in that branch were asked to stand when their song was played. When the Army flag entered the sanctuary and the theme song played, Tucker jumped to his feet and stood up. Immediately, someone  sitting close by tugged on his coat and told him to… “sit down”… in essence …that’s not for you, you’re just a kid…not a soldier.

In truth Tuck is not yet a man or a soldier,  but I disagree about whether or not he deserved to stand.

In my opinion, Tuck is serving. At six years old  he understands more about sacrifice than most adults ever will.  For him, a year without his father is an eternity. These are days he will never get back. He is serving his country. Today, Tucker Neeley deserved to stand.  Unfortunately, after he was “scolded” … he sat down and hid his face. He refused to get back up. Jordan looked over at me with tears rolling down her cheeks. We exchanged a knowing glance.

I can’t even describe the range of emotions that ran through me.  Mainly hurt for Tuck, but also genuine frustration that so few people truly understand what this year has been like for us. A lot of comparisons have been thrown out and I’m not arguing that life is not full of difficult circumstances, but serving during a war is a unique experience. There are no comparisons. Plain and simple.

Only the ones who have walked in our shoes can grasp the full weight and meaning behind the sacrifice that makes the 4th of July possible.

You have the right to sit because someone stood up.



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4 responses to “Fourth of July

  1. Amy Fortenberry Taylor

    Preach it sister! I am right there with you!

    Keep pressing onward Neeley family! I think we have wonderful little American citizens in our midst that have a sense of the burden of responsibility our husbands carry. Not that I would wish that burden for them, but I have decided to make it into a gift for them and help them see it as such. Stand up Tuck!

    I have decided that July 4th is our peak and it is downhill from here. Blessings to you all, Amy

  2. Gigi Anderson

    I feel as you do, Tucker had every right to stand to his feet. He knows more about serving and being without your loved one than most adults.
    Keep the faith and encourage Tucker to keep standing.
    Blessings to you and your family.
    Gigi Anderson

  3. Andy Lancaster

    Tuck and Jordan both deserved to stand. As adults we are able to adapt to unusual situations and circumstances. In many ways children have situations and circumstances thrust upon them. I hurt for Tuck regarding his experience yesterday and I feel for Jordan to have to witness the “scolding”. Mostly I am saddened by the ignorance of the church member who felt it necessary to scold a 6 year old for standing. Frankly, I commend you for not responding to the scolder however tempting it might have been.

    You are correct Janie – every family who has a member of their family serving in the military is serving in their own important way. So my message to Tuck and Jordan is simple – STAND UP! Do not ever let someone tell you you are not serving. Your role in protecting this country is critical.

    And to the naysayer in the congregation my message to that person is simple as well – “SHUT UP!” Lead, follow or get out of the way. Frankly the naysayers should get out of the way so the doers of this country can complete the mission. Complete the mission Neeley family. Always stand up!

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