Words are significant to the expression of language in the art of communication, just as dates are significant to the cycle of one’s life. Each year, some days are more important in meaning than others. We remember our birthday; hopefully, our wedding anniversary; and, without question, the birth of our children. Holidays abound, yet their remembrance is scheduled for us.
Memory is significant. It is a gift that brings to mind actions and events that shape our lives and impact our future. For “The Greatest Generation,” every American will remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on the fateful day of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In like fashion, for this generation, Sept. 11, 2001, will live as a day of infamy in the annals of American history. Scripture records that “the memory of the righteous is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7). Thus, the act of remembrance is designed to be a blessing to the people of God.
Today, Nov. 11, 2016, is a day of remembrance. Even though World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the actual fighting between the Allies and Germany ceased seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. It became known as “Armistice Day,” and the United States recognized it as a national holiday in 1938. On June 1, 1954, following the Korean War, President Eisenhower and Congress changed the name of the celebration to “Veterans Day” in order to honor all United States veterans.
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first commemoration of Armistice Day with these words:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in 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….”
So why is this day significant, and what are we to remember? How can this act of remembrance be a blessing to the people of God? We must be reminded,
- The world in which we live and serve is a world of strife and conflict and will remain so until our King of Kings, the Lord Jesus, returns.
- The price of freedom is costly. It has been purchased with the blood of those who made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in their service to our country. Honor our men and women in uniform. Be proud of them for their service. They are worthy of dignity and respect.
- Thank God for the freedoms we enjoy!
- Pray for our nation and all in leadership, especially our military. May the mercy and grace of God abound toward them during their days of service and into the future.
Lastly, as Christ-followers, our first allegiance must be to honor our Savior and Lord every day in word and deed. As Americans, on this Veterans Day 2016, let us be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy: the freedom of speech, to bear arms, to worship freely, and to serve our God boldly.
The peace and freedoms we enjoy can be attributed to the faithful service of the men and women of our military forces who risk their lives to protect these freedoms daily. Honor the Lord! Remember the vet!