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Veteran's Day---A Day To Honor Our Men

Veterans Day began to commemorate “the day to end all wars.” When fighting of WW I ended on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour in 1918, seven months prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, American honored their soldiers and rejoiced as they came home.

President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day for the “heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

Congress approved November 11th as “Armistice Day,” dedicated to the cause of world peace and set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

With America’s involvement in WW II, she sent more of her men: soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen to fight for what she believed. The entire nation listened and waited for the return of these men. America had sent her best men to represent her in the fight for freedom.

In our world of instant texting and communication, we don’t understand the waiting any couple of WW II experienced. The wife at home listening to the battles on the radio, wondering if he still lived. His letters, when she received them weeks after they were sent, were blacked out, revealing no location or any real news. Just because he wrote this letter didn’t guarantee he still lived when she received it.

Most Americans have never lugged an 80 lb pack plus weapons and ammunition through sleet, night and mud, nor smelled the gunpowder long after the ammunition was spent, heard guns firing after the silence of night came, felt the loss of comrades beside them, feared you may freeze unable to perform your task, and it may cost your buddy’s life. Because her men were sent to do it for her.

Her soldiers know war. War brings an aloneness that can consume a man when his buddy is gone and he wonders why he isn’t. And why he continues.

We can’t imagine what these men endured, nor what it took for these men to continue. But persevere they did. While our entire nation stood behind them, praying for their soon return. America praised their efforts, their victory, their lives.

In 1954, Congress replaced the word “Armistice” with “Veterans” to honor American veterans of all wars. Several Acts attempted to alter the day, but today, Veterans Day preserves the historical day’s significance, and honors our American veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Other wars have come. America’s support for our soldiers has waned. America sent her best to war without a clear, defined end state. Her people were not united in their support of her men. These soldiers, too, gave their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Their uniforms soiled with dirt from different countries, their bodies scarred by war, their minds reliving the horrors they saw. They were still America’s best men, sent to do the job. They returned without a welcome.

Today, the American soldiers still shows his love of country and willingness to serve. But America fights a different war: an ideological war, where we don’t fight a country, we fight a doctrine that threatens what we believe.

Our nation was founded on equality of all men. We fight against a religion that considers a woman’s testimony in court as equal to half of a man’s.

We fight a people who speak of peace, but define peace as their way and only their way.

We send our men to fight against men who send women and children to fight.

Before Thomas Jefferson was president, he was a diplomat, sent to negotiate with these people, who at the time, were terrorizing our ships and enslaving our sailors. There was no negotiating with them. There was no compromise. When he became president, he remembered what he learned. He built a navy that would control their evil.

Today, we still fight them. But some Americans have considered allowing co-existence with the enemy. Remember 9-11? The danger has not gone away. No evil goes away. It grows, perhaps dormant. Then it raises up as the evil it is.

Veteran’s Day honors the men who have fought for America. Today, we might be able to clean the soil from our men’s uniforms, but we can’t erase the scars on their hearts of what they have seen and experienced. They protected what we value.

America is great because of the God we remember.

America is also great because of the men who were willing to fight to protect what God has given us.

We thank those men today.

How does your family honor the soldiers on this day?

Thanks for the reminder of all we have to be thankful for in our great country and for the men who lived and died to make it possible. May we never forget.

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               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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