Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States of America.
It is also Remembrance Day in Canada.
The names are different, but the intent is similar — remember those that sacrificed for our country. (Although, more accurately, Veterans’ Day remembers those former soldiers that are still alive, while Memorial Day honors those that have passed on to the other world.)
Whatever our political differences, we must make sure that those that serve our country, especially in the military, know that we are supportive of them, are praying for them, and are thankful for their efforts and sacrifices.
No matter our state of prosperity, position, or power, we must always remember that freedom costs and that thousands upon thousands have paid. Because freedom has such a high price, we must never be afraid to pay that price – it’s obviously a "pearl of great price". The best way that those who are not in the military can honor those that served to protect our freedom is to have the courage to practice that freedom with responsibility, and not squander that freedom on irresponsible acts of laziness, greed, gluttony, or lust. We can take pride in the fact that we are free, but let us also be humble enough to know that freedom is a gift, offered to us by God and paid for by the brave.
G.K. Chesterton stated best that quality so common among the good soldiers – Courage. (Keep in mind that the following quote comes from Orthodoxy, which was written in 1908 – 6 years before WWI and 30 years before WWII.)
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means astrong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die."He that will lose his life, the same shall save it," is not apiece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece ofeveryday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might beprinted in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox isthe whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly orquite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may savehis life if he will risk it on the precipice.He can only get away from death by continuallystepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded byenemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine astrong desire for living with a strange carelessness aboutdying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will bea coward, and will not escape. He must not merely waitfor death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape.He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it;he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romanticriddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not doneso. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limitsof it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero,showing the distance between him who dies for the sake ofliving and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it hasheld up ever since above the European lances the bannerof the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which isa disdain of death; not the Chinese courage, which is adisdain of life.
Thank you to all veterans, alive or dead, American or otherwise, who have given so much to us who are grateful too little. We pray for you, especially for the MIAs and POWs.