Armistice Day commemorated the end of the Great War. It honored those who gave their lives in the War to End All Wars. No one at that point expected one generation later that they’d be fighting World War II.
Both of my parents served in WWII, my dad as an Airman, working with radios at Scott Field, and my mom as a WAC, I believe. I never heard her story.
In 1966-1967 I lived through the military take-over of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the event that made it Zaire. I heard some stories, and knew that my folks’ best friend was a mercenary, but that was mostly outside of my sphere. What I did know was the 6 Day War. All of my friends were Jews, and all of them had family in Israel. We sat together, and prayed for victory, and for the family members to all be safe. God heard our prayers. He also made sure that my family was on the last plane out of Zaire.
I protested the Vietnam War. Went to Washington, and New Haven, marched on the Federal Building here. I felt as though we had made a difference, in making our voices heard.
20 years later, my views had changed. I gladly prayed for all those serving in the Gulf War. Many people I knew had someone involved. And then we moved.
I was living in West Virginia when the planes hit the towers. I ended up at a friend’s house, watching TV and praying. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anyone that day. But a nurse at the health clinic I went to, did. My family and I instinctively headed for our church to pray. New York seemed so faraway, and we felt so helpless. Many WV folks have a tradition of military service, and so it was a comforting place to be, surrounded by those who cherished this great nation and felt that serving was a privilege.
Memorial Day, which began as Decoration Day, after the Civil War/War Between the States/The War of Northern Aggression, is now the day we honor all those who died serving our country, all conflicts included.
Today we celebrate Veterans’ Day, honoring all of those who have served and are serving. Please take a moment today to thank a vet for his or her service, to thank a military family for the sacrifice they make, when they let their family member go. We sleep safely at night under the blanket of protection that they provide. Please pray for our veterans, for those currently serving, and for their families.