Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Grateful Nation has not forgotten....

Today is Veterans Day here in the United States of America.  It is a day of remembering.  A day of celebrating the greatest generation of our time.  Today we honor Veterans of World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War as well as current or modern day Veterans such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.  And, there are many unknown/unnamed wars that take place that are fought by our braves service men and women across the globe.

Today was a special day for me.  I am lucky enough to have my very own personal hero, my brother, Scott.  He has fought in places that I cannot imagine going, but am grateful that he and all of his comrades were brave enough to stand in the gap for me and my family.  And, for every American.  I am awed by his courage and his stamina and at times wonder how he has stood the test of time in battle.

Also, I have a cousin named Steve in Ohio who served in the Vietnam War.  It was a tough war and those Vets came home to a very ungrateful nation.  We did not say thank you at the time, but we do say thank you now.  And, I am proud to say he is my cousin and continue to tell him how thankful I am that he fought for me.  That he fought for our family.  That he fought for our country.  And, I am truly grateful.
Today, I had the privilege of honoring many older Veterans today at several nursing homes and Assisted Living communities for my new job in Hospice.  We gave presentations to honor each one of those heroes that have gone before us and those who still stand with us in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and even as old as 100 years.  As I looked around the room at our older Veterans, I had to stop and pause to realize what a privilege it was to be in the room with these men and women.  They each stood tall and proud and were glad that they served our country.  They fought for our freedom.  They fought for you and me.  Wow....It was quite a day!!!

Our Chaplain and Hospice team read several meaningful articles and poems about Veterans and the history of Veterans Day was explained quite well in this piece called:  Veterans Day by Marion F. Sturkey.  It is an excerpt from Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines, copyright 2001.

"After four years of carnage in Europe when the giant cannon finally fell silent.  At 11:00 a.m. on 11 November 1918 (which is the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month) the Allies and Germany signed an armistice.  The Great War, The World War, The War to End War mercifully ended.  The whole world rejoiced.  Thereafter, the eleventh day of November became Armistice Day in most of the western world.  In Canada, it became known as Remembrance Day.

In the United States, Congress officially recognized Armistice Day in 1926.  Twelve years later, it became a national holiday.  Unfortunately, three decades and two wars later America realized that world order had been equally preserved by veterans of World War II and the Korean War.  So, in 1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President, signed an act which changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

In 1968 (the flower-power generation was hard at work again) Congress changed the day of observance to the fourth Monday in October.  Veterans Day had temporarily become just another long three-day weekend.  The reason for the holiday had been forgotten by many.  Fortunately, the public outcry rose steadily over the next ten years.  Finally bowing to public pressure, Congress reversed itself in 1978.  The eleventh day of November again became the day on which Americans observe Veterans Day.

By law, Veterans Day is set aside to honor our nation's military veterans both living and dead, who serve in time of war.  The focal point for national observance is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.  At 11:00 a.m. on 11 November, a color guard that includes all military services executes "Present Arms."  The President of the United  States lays a wreath upon the tomb, steps back, and salutes.  A bugler plays Taps.  A grateful nation has not forgotten."

I pray that each of us will not forget.  I pray that we will remember and honor those who have gone before us and those who are still with us each day.  Freedom is not free.  Let us truly be a nation that will not forget those sacrifices.

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