Today we honor our servicemen and women for their sacrifices. Veterans Day is a day to honor veterans, not to be confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates those who served in the military, while Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military.
According to google, "Veterans Day first began as a celebration to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. It was known as Armistice Day during its original year of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. However, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include all veterans, from both World War II and the Korean War, which both ended in 1945 and 1953, respectively. 'In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.'”
I grew up in a family that had many who served in the United States army. Like my Dad, I always teared up while listening to the National Anthem. I love to see the American flag flying and that also brings tears of gratitude. I raised my girls to be respectful during the National Anthem. Hand on heart. Not chewing gum, talking, etc. I spoke at Fellowship of Christian Athletes when my girls were in high school about being respectful of the flag. I am grateful that I got a glimpse of being part of a military family.
Like so many, I never understood and appreciated the freedom that we enjoy as citizens of the United States. I also never appreciated the cost of this freedom! I grew up in a time when the military service men and women were not valued like they should have been. I have heard stories of my loved ones coming home to ugly names instead of being treated as heroes. This breaks my heart.
As many of you I know exactly where I was on September 11, 2011 and I was much more appreciative of our military! The terrorist attacks scared me! It scared me for my brother in the military, it scared me for our nation but mostly it scared me for my children. I would cry at night wondering about their safety. I had never been scared in this way before.
I live in a wealthy nation. I am free to attend any church I want; I can go to school; I can dress like I want; I can have as many children as I want; I can choose to be single or marry; I can marry whoever I want; I can vote; I can fly my American flag! Why can I do these things? Because our service men and women have fought for my freedom! They have laid down their lives in service to our country!
Please be in prayer for our veterans. Many Scriptures come to mind to guide us in our prayers for them. Psalm 46: 1, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Joshua 1: 9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Psalm 33: 20-22, " We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you." 2 Samuel 22: 2-4, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me. 'I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.'"
If you are a veteran, please memorize these Scriptures so you know you are never alone! If you are praying remember God is always with them. He is our Help. He is our rock. He is our shield and our strength! He is worthy to be praised! He will put a hedge of protection around you.
I always say, "thank you for your service" to veterans but this morning I heard a veteran, Ted Crenshaw, say he likes, "never forget." He said that makes it feel like we are all on the same team. We will never forget the sacrifice of veterans now or in the past. So I will start saying, "never forget." And I hope I never forget where our worldly freedom comes from.
Thank you is not enough! Today let's raise our flags and pray for our veterans who have served our nation!
John 15: 13, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."