Ken and the Soldier

  • May 31, 2010
  • #7326

In honor of Memorial Day, Joni shares a personal way that Ken honors American soldiers.

Ken and the Soldier

We salute our servicemen and women on this Memorial Day! Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I have my husband, Ken, in the studio today. Thanks for coming in, Ken. And together we are thinking of all the many sacrifices that have been made by the brave men and women in our Armed Forces... especially those coming home from a tour of duty, right Ken?

Ken: Oh, yes! 

Joni: With maybe serious injuries. And it's why when you and I are in an airport...

Ken: We make a point of going out and greeting each of those young men and women who are in uniform.

Joni: Absolutely. I see you do it all the time and it is so inspirational to me. Like recently when we were flying east and making a transfer in Dallas, during our plane change, we headed for the food court, remember that?

Ken: Oh, yes. There was a young man there in uniform and he looked kind of alone for some reason. So I just went up to him and said to him, "Do you mind if I pay for your lunch? "

Joni: I think you guys were kind of over there by the McDonald's kiosk, if I recall.

Ken: Exactly by the McDonald's kiosk. It is interesting, paying for lunch was one thing, but you don't really have to do that all the time.     

Joni: No you don't, you just say, "Hi!"

Ken: Hi and thank you, or just say "Thank you."

Joni: You know I always say, "Thank you for your service to our country, we really appreciate it." You know when you were over there by the McDonald's kiosk with that soldier I nudged Judy who was with us. She got out her iPhone and snapped a picture of the back of you and this soldier. I noticed that you guys were talking while his order was being prepared, and although the soldier ended up sitting at another table in the food court, before he left for his plane, I thought it was kind of cool that he came up to our table with wet eyes, didn't he?

Ken: He did. He was just saying that that was what he needed. So, we don't know, do we? 

Joni: Nope! He said, "God put you people in my path today; I know He did." I thought that was really something.

Ken: Exactly, and I wonder how many other young men and women who have those same thoughts we'll never know. You know, Joni, it may feel awkward for someone to go up to a complete stranger, even though they are in uniform, but you know it takes so little effort for someone to share a word of kindness, a word of thanks and a smile. You know it can really make a difference in that person's life.

Joni: Absolutely!  And you know this was one soldier who was deeply moved.  It touched me, Ken that you were kind enough and thoughtful enough to give him your personal cell phone number.  I thought that was sweet.

Ken: He had mentioned that he was coming to Southern California and I was hoping that he would look us up and we would invite him over here and maybe take him out to lunch and spend some time with him.  

Joni: That's right. The soldier's eyes were still damp when he shook your hand and said goodbye. You know, Ken, I don't know how many people listening do the kind of thing that you do, but it really a personal way of encouraging our troops. So, I suggest that when people are in airports or you see someone in uniform in your community or if you happen to be at a restaurant or a diner or at a McDonald's in an airport, and you spot an American serviceman by their uniform, pick up the check. Right? 

Ken: Well, even if you didn't pick up the check, be bold enough to go over and just say, "Hey, thank you, thank you for your service to this country and for allowing us to do the things that we do."

Joni: And you know, I don't ever recall a soldier brushing us off or taking unkindly to the gesture.  It seems that all service men and women really appreciate the acknowledgement.

Ken: Oh, I find that to be true as well, Joni.

Joni: Friend listening, if you would like to see the snapshot from Judy's iPhone, of Ken and this soldier, I've posted it on our radio page today. Oh, I don't' know, it's just a neat snapshot of a little Christianity being practiced with its sleeves rolled up. Also, while you're visiting my radio page, feel free to ask for a little booklet I'm offering this week simply called "Guidance." Maybe the biblical insights will guide you and infuse a little courage in your heart as you seek out people like this young soldier who need a touch of the Savior's love. The photo... the booklet... it's all there for you at 

Ken: And friend listening, have a wonderful Memorial Day from Joni and me and all the folks here at Joni and Friends.

Joni: That's right!

© Joni and Friends

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