Veterans, we honor you

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Dear Readers, as I sit to write this article it is Friday, November 11. It is Veterans Day. I share with you a good portion of an article that I wrote a few years ago for The Citizen. It is most definitely appropriate to repeat this important tribute to our Veterans on this special day and this special weekend.

And as I sit today on Friday, I’m looking out my window and see the terrible weather Hurricane Nicole has inflicted upon the various ceremonies and remembrances of the day. I’m afraid many of them might be cancelled or at least certainly be poorly attended. So, ascribing you Veterans the honor you so appropriately deserve by these written words is even more important. Hopefully, you will be reading them in the cool Sunday sunshine that is supposed to replace Nicole.

So, November 11 is Veterans Day. We rise again to honor all who have served in our United States military. Thank you. God bless you.

I am a History Major, so I love the knowledge of how the past transpired to give us the present. The History Channel website reminds us that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in WW I, then known as “The Great War.”

It is interesting to note that, though the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained in the public imagination as the date that marked the end of The Great War. In November 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The day’s observation included parades and public gatherings, as well as a brief pause in business activities at 11 a.m.

On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. This beloved grave is now known as “The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier,” or “The Tomb of The Unknowns.”

On a personal note, my family and I have been to The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier and have witnessed the solemn and impressive ceremony of the Changing of The Guard there. It brings both solemn pause and tremendous pride in the way our nation honors our veterans and fallen military.

On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the “recurring anniversary of November 11, 1918 should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations” and that the president should issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day. An act approved May 13, 1938 made November 11 a legal Federal holiday, “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.”

In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all service and all wars.

An official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Again, a personal note, I am watching that on Livestream even as I am writing this particular paragraph today. In addition to this ceremony, every year many parades and other celebrations are held in all states around the country.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, living or dead, but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Beth McLendon of Inspirational Prayers gives us this most appropriate prayer for the occasion. Let us pray.

Almighty God, You are our Creator and Sustainer. You are our Light and our Fortress. You are our Wisdom and our Strength.

Dear Lord, You moved upon great leaders to establish this great nation. You stirred our leaders to hope and to dream for a land of freedom. We praise You for this great nation.

You have inspired many of our best and brightest to volunteer to proudly stand and defend our beloved country. You have given us brave and loyal men and women who have steadfastly served in their chosen branch of our military.

We remember today our military personnel. We acknowledge that their service enables us to walk as free men and women in this great land.

Dear Lord, today we seek to honor Your sons and daughters who have served or who are serving our country. We are reminded that because of their service we can live in safety. May their service time be rewarded in every way.

Dear Lord, we remember those who are currently serving. We ask that you provide them with Your protection, Your strength, and Your peace. We ask that You would abundantly provide for all their needs. We ask that You would enable them to overcome every personal and professional obstacle. We ask that You would protect their families from hurt and harm. May each of our veterans feel honored not just today but every day.

O Father, we also give special recognition to our wounded warriors. We realize that many of our heroes are dealing with physical and emotional wounds that occurred as a result of their time of service to our country. We ask that they would be given the best treatments available and that You would add your supernatural blessings to all the efforts given to them to help them. We ask that You, O Lord, would show them miracles as they seek to gain health, stability, and wholeness.

We pray all these things in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen

And Amen! Thank you, veterans. All of you. And God bless you. We will never forget you and the sacrifices you made to preserve our freedom. We honor you.

[Kollmeyer, a retired Lutheran pastor, is a thirty-six year resident of Fayette County. He offers his pastoral and preaching services to any and all Christians, as his schedule allows. Reach him at justin.kollmeyer@gmail.com.]