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I witnessed an incident on a flight this weekend that reminded me how often we fail as a society, regardless of race or economic level, at defending and honoring our elders.

In a time ruled by technology, where productivity and profit come to those that can move the fastest; and in a day and age of maximum pleasure and thus maximum selfishness;  it is the elderly who are denied value and honor.

An AP article posted today states that the number of Americans 65 and over is projected to nearly double by 2030. The number of seniors being abused, exploited or neglected every year is often estimated at about $2 million, judging by available statistics, but experts say the number could be much higher. Some research indicates that 1 in 10 seniors have suffered some form of abuse at least once and most of this abuse comes from family members.

All of us, no matter who you are, has been blessed, touched, trained, mentored, and loved by someone who is now an elder. No matter how well or poorly you have treated them in the past, I ask that you would honor an elder in your life today. Try to focus on the living, and if not, share the story of an elder that has gone on in your life with a young person who needs to know their story. But the living need to know how much they mean to us while they are here.

So call them to tell them they’re being thought of. Buy flowers, stop by and hug them, but let them know you are because they did. There are a few TJMS family members that wanted to honor an elder today.

Edward L. Nimrod honors his third grade teacher, Mrs. Sewell… “When I was a kid in my envoirnment, I had nowhere & no one to turn to for ANY sort of guidance so my third grade teacher, Mrs. Sewell, invited me to her church and introduced me to God…”

Vie Joyner honors her mom, Jean Joyner. She says, “she was my VERY FIRST GIRL CRUSH. I loved watching my mother when I was younger because I adored her! I thought she was just perfect.”

Karen McNeil honors her grandfather Europe Jackson. He will be 99 years old on January 31. She says, “When his oldest daughter passed away, he and my grandmother were heartbroken. But he kept working as a plumber to raise his 11 other children and his daughter’s only child, a girl. And that child is writing to you now to say how much she and the entire family love, respect and honor him.”

I know so many, but want to honor Evelyn Davis, my first Sunday school teacher. She gave us the word, taught us to be upright, was not afraid to knock you out, but loved and loves every child that came through St. Marks church until today.

So to every elder in my life and yours, THANK YOU. We are who we are because you were willing to do what you did. And today we honor you.

As always, I’m Jeff Johnson and that’s my truth.