Today we recognize our veterans for their unwavering service to America. Across this great country and throughout the world … Americans will pause today to honor our brave fighting men and women and to pay homage to our fallen who for more than 240-years have underwritten our freedom by their duty honor and selfless-service.
We recognize that all our Veterans have given something of themselves to this country and some have given all — laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we all hold so dear. Many more have suffered greatly as a result of wounds of all types and have been forever marked physically and psychologically. And on a totally different level, let us not forget the suffering of their families who are inflicted with the hidden wounds of war; heart-ache, pain, and suffering the loss of their loved ones – and to the Gold Star Parents … they too deserve our gratitude, support and love for their heart-felt sacrifices they will endure forever.
From sunrise this morning and for the rest of today, as we reflect on the blessings of our liberty, we ask our Heavenly Father that we may be faithful stewards of the precious freedom we have been granted. Let us never forget that we cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of our freedom without remembering the great price paid for that freedom and liberty.
As part of this message of thanks today, I would like to take some time for all us to think about history. To think about the meaning, purpose and nature of war and conflict over the course of time. I would like every American to contemplate and try to understand the reality and concept of war and conflict, since most of us never think about or take time out of our busy daily lives to reflect and rationalize it meaning and the outsoing.
With that, I would like to offer everyone the following perspective.
The world has known many kinds of war over the course of both time, and more so over the course of recorded history. We have gone so far as to gives names for war, conflicts and battles and provided definitions to define the types of conflict, in order to justify the reasons for going to war and or getting involved … perhaps to avoid the sting, the horror, or hide the consequences.
We have all read and heard of the names and terms; the ‘Hundred Years’ War and the “hundred-hour war,” the Seven Years’ War and the Six-Day War, the Cold War and the dirty little wars, the Great Wars and the police actions, the wars of national liberation and civil wars … guerrilla wars and peace-keeping operations, insurgencies and the Global War on Terrorism. These are but a few of the names and terms used over the course of time, to define conflict … of which many of us have been involved and endured …
Whatever anyone wants to call it, the truth is that war unfortunately is part of humanity and the human experience — and it is a reality, and in many cases inevitable. It can be limited or deterred … sometimes. But it cannot be outlawed like a crime because there’s no consensus on who should play judge, and there’s always the waning interest in the role of sheriff, as we have experienced so often. Nor can it be cured like a disease, because it is part of the very nature of mankind.
As some of history’s greatest thinkers, historians, subject matter analysts have concluded — it is an unfortunate flaw of the human psyche. Some 3,000-years ago King Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 3:8 said; “There is a time for war and a time for peace.” As humans, we all understand and have experienced both calm and conflict in our daily lives — between family, and between friends, and between you and that guy who cut-you-off on the way to work ,you know the typical reaction and response. We understand it is us who create conflict at the individual level, we have all experienced it. But the causes and or reasons for countries to go to war much are much more critical, and are rarely the result of raw America, nor are they the result of human anger, but rather in most cases about defending our deep convictions of freedom and liberty, safety and security of our homeland, and preserving our rights and the Constitution.
America’s generals however are seldom so ‘matter-of-fact’ about war; William Tecumseh Sherman called it “hell.” Robert E. Lee said it was “terrible.” Dwight Eisenhower deplored it for “its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity” and George Washington, said; “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” In the cause and case of freedom and liberty to endure, it is sometimes a necessary precursor.
For America, and our fight for independence and liberty, it all began about 5 a.m., on the morning of April 19th 1775, when 700 British troops, on a mission to capture American patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal — marched into Lexington to find 77 armed Minutemen under the command of Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Americans to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the common. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the area. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun and our ongoing fight to preserve our freedom against tyranny has never ended.
Since then, and by the end of the American Revolution, U.S. military intervention tallies surged to some 330 notable deployments of U.S. military forces overseas since 1798.
Putting that into perspective; America has been involved in some form of warfare or conflict 94% of the time that we have been a nation, which means – 225 years out of the 241 years since 1775. Doing the math the U.S. has only been at and experienced total peace for roughly 21-years, since our birth as a nation.
And of course those stats don’t include, for instance, the numerous limited military engagements, blockades, humanitarian airdrops, rescue operations, counter-terror raids, and drone strikes. But by highlighting the vital statistics of our most consequential and/or costly military engagements, we realize war’s impact on America. And thus the reason why across this nation we gather on this day to honor those who have fallen and all of those who have served.
It is staggering — the eternal debt we owe to the untold number of American Veterans who chose to set aside their personal ambitions and dreams in order to assure the well-being of our great nation. We, the living are indeed the beneficiaries of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement, surety, and the security of our liberty, freedom and our Constitution.
May we always be humbly grateful to those brave American patriots who suffered and sacrificed for the glory of God and for the freedom of all Americans.
For those Americans who have stood guard in those few precious years of total peace and to those who have seen the terror, the horror, and inhumanity of combat – and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Let it be said that our warriors have been there for America defending the Constitution of these United States.
To all our veterans we have a simple, yet heartfelt message – Thank you – Thank you for your unwavering service in peacetime and war, here stateside and throughout the world. So today, looking out on the world, we see our men and women serving in over 100 countries for reasons that spread across the gamut of conflict that we just reflected on. And we are grateful that the legacy of our veterans continues to inspire enough of America’s youth today, to continue to answer the call to duty.
Lastly, I need to mention the importance of service to your country and community. I have always felt it was an honor to serve my country, and I continue to serve today, while not in uniform, but in my community and by helping our veterans. I would ask that all American find a way to do the same.
I want to leave you with four (4) historical quotes, that together reflect, intersect by a common thread, and offer meaning about war and conflict, and the cause of freedom and liberty, and why those veterans who have answered the call do so, what they must deal with in their own minds — should that call come once again to go to war, as it has so many times in the past;.
In 1948, one of the world’s greatest leaders of modern times Sir Winston Churchill said. while addressing Parliament in the aftermath of WWII;
“Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”.
Noted British philosopher, mathematician, historian, writer, and Nobel laureate, Bertrand Russell said;
“War does not determine who is right … only who is left”
And the Iconic American General George S. Patton, further stated;
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
And from that quote, comes the answer from the Bible, in Isaiah 6:8, about how grateful we are to have had the men and women with the courage, perseverance, and love of country to answer the call — and in those words from Isaiah which stated;
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am Lord. Send me!”
I want to thank all of those who have read this Veterans’ Day message honoring our serving active duty military and our veterans. May God Bless each and every American, may he bless our men and women of all the Armed Services serving on active-duty where ever they are around the globe. And to our veterans and their cherished families — and to our next President, Donald J. Trump we ask that God provide him with the divine guidance and wisdom to keep America safe and secure, and to protect our freedoms and our Constitution – and most of all, may God continue to bless the United States of America, and our precious American Execptionalism. To each and all I thank you.