I was enjoying my first day in the USA. It was the third day of January. After the transfer from JFK Airport to La Guardia in New York there was one thing that had attracted my attention in the departure hall. On many displays I read the text: God bless our troops. Oh yeah, I’m in the States. The patriotism is presented in the current normal days. First I was thinking that it is simply for reminding the passengers that “our troops” are spread out all over the world. But having noted the presence of many of young soldiers, maybe some of them were recruits, I understood. It was for them. The young guys and girls, wearing their fatigues and passing the time with Smartphone in hand, were waiting for their flights. For the one to St. Louis which I was to take, the troop didn’t miss. Some of those young people sat alone, others in small groups.
I was noticing them for a good while. And I have to admit I started, quite spontaneously, to pray in my own way: God bless our troops. I’m not a US citizen, but looking at those young people and being aware of the God’s project with each of them I considered them “our”. They are going to face lots of various situations, decisions, relationships, tasks, temptations, desires… How many of them are believers in one and personally interested God? How much of a capacity to love and how many wishes, desires to be loved are presented in their depths? God bless our troops. These girls and guys, these young people… I hope I do remember to pray for them. Especially …
It was my first day and I had been holding my purpose to be courageous and to try speak with people, even to make the first step into dialogue. So I tried to speak with one of these young soldiers. Making my first step. My curiosity pushed me ahead. So I got the reason for my special intention to pray. Whenever I can, I want to pray for these “troops”. For these faces, for this guy I talked to. I want to ask our God, “God full of kindness, to grant his grace of protection, of wisdom, of courage and of peace of heart for these girls and guys. May they carry out their military service in ways of justice, for common good and with respect to every human person. May it be for them the time of maturation and may they experience the personal God’s paternal guidance in every situation and moment. God bless our troops.”
I saw them; they crossed my way for quite a while. They became a part of my first contact with the US reality. So, whenever I can, I will pray – and it is only a few words: God bless our troops.