Veteran’s Day 2013
Veteran’s Day 2013
My Dad was a veteran. He was very proud of his service to his country, and rightly so. This is the very best way to love (Jesus said). Put your life on the line for your friends (John 13:15, The Message). My dad joined the Navy at age 18. At his memorial service, after a full life of 86 years, the family was presented an American flag at his graveside, “From a grateful country, for his service.”
What was that service commemorated by that flag? The four years of active duty alone? Dad was fortunate enough to come home, but many friends and family did not make it back safe and sound. His service is more than the four years in a war. It can also be described as the way he chose to live his life of service after his return home. What mattered most to me about his being a veteran was not in glorifying war, but serving peace. He volunteered with community organizations, church, and as an attorney he helped people facing difficult and challenging circumstances. He found many ways to love and serve the family, and the world, in his own way. Veteran’s Day is about every individual’s service to work for peace, justice, and hope for all. Each time we express gratitude for the sacrifices of others, living and dead, we celebrate the gifts of their whole lives.
What are you the possibility of today? Your giftedness, history, experiences, passions, place, your meaningful work and the various roles you fulfill in your life, all these attributes and many others besides, constitute yourservice in response to God’s love. What possibilities will emerge as you put your life on the line in a multitude of ways so that others are blessed through you?
Jesus never lost sight of the future as he lived his life with Intentionality, Humility, and Authenticity. His integration of his past, mindfulness of his present, and focus on his future expressed his service, laying down his life so that others might truly live in peace and wholeness.
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it… Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God… go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Excerpts Hebrews 12:1–3 The Message).
Veteran’s Day is a time to remember. It is a time to take responsibility for our history, good and bad. It is a time to mourn, and to also express gratitude individually and as a family, organization, community, and country. Not gratitude for war, or glorifying war’s achievements, but to become the possibilities for peace, justice, and hope for every individual.
Take time today to thank a vet. You may want to consider volunteering at you local veteran’s hospital, or donating to an organization that serves peace and wholeness to our veteran’s:
The Fisher House Foundation provides homes and enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time - during the hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease.
The DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: Empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.
My dad was a veteran, not just of World War II, but a veteran of the greater community of faith, seen and unseen, and he continues to cheer me on in service to peace, following the Prince of Peace in showing God’s love for the world.