We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
- author and critic Roger Ebert
I recently read a story about five-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams that made me like her even more. Ready to board a flight from Detroit headed to Los Angeles, she noticed a serviceman traveling in uniform waiting for the same flight.
Adams, who had a seat reserved in first class, whispered something to a flight attendant and then bypassed the first class seating and headed for a seat in coach. Moments later, that serviceman was seated in the first class seat belonging to Adams.
Though she kept it very low-key, not wanting to draw attention to her good deed, a fellow passenger tweeted, "Just saw actress Amy Adams do something incredibly classy. She gave her 1st class seat to an American soldier. I'm an even bigger fan now."
When questioned about her act of kindness, she said: "I didn’t do it for attention for myself. I did it for attention for the troops."
You see, her father, Rich, served as an officer in the U.S. Army. She grew up knowing the importance of honoring our troops, and when given the opportunity to personally honor a soldier, she acted on it.
With the Fourth of July upon us, I thought it was fitting to share this story about Amy Adams and her act of kindness, reminding us to look for ways to show our gratitude to the men and women who serve this country so selflessly.
You may not have a first class seat on an upcoming flight that you can give to a soldier, but you can always go up to a uniformed serviceman or woman and say, "Thanks for serving our country. I really appreciate all that you do."
Or if you see a man or woman in uniform at a restaurant, you can anonymously pick up the check and ask the server to relay this message: "I’m honored to pay for your meal. Thanks for your service to our country."
Or maybe you can get involved with an organization such as Operation Gratitude and write thank-you notes and letters to the special men and women who sacrifice much in service to this nation.
The Operation Gratitude website provides specific guidelines and helpful letter-writing suggestions so you won’t overstep any boundaries, so check those out before writing. You just never know how much your words of gratitude might mean to a weary Marine or a homesick Soldier.
You can also adopt a soldier for the duration of his/her deployment or do a short-term outreach. Adopt A US Soldier is currently active in more than 170 countries and territories, with thousands of volunteers supporting our troops and letting them know that we cherish them and our freedom.
And, of course, we can all commit to pray for our service men and women and their families on a daily basis.
So, as you enjoy your city’s Fourth of July parade or watch the fireworks light up the night sky, just remember why we celebrate this holiday. Thank God for our independence as a nation and the freedom we still enjoy today.
And if you happen to see a veteran or an active serviceman or woman at any of this weekend’s festivities, follow the example of Amy Adams and show honor where honor is due. Take time to offer a simple, "Thank you for your service."
Happy Fourth of July. Be safe, and be thankful.
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, with more than 60 books and 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines to her name. She was won several SELAH Awards (best children’s book and book of the year for God Knows You in 2014 and best children’s book for My Big Book of Prayers in 2012), and her book Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood was named a Family Christian Bookstores Premiere Pick in 2006. When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.
Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys cheering on the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies and the LA Kings. Find out more about Michelle at her website.