A confession: Veterans Day is not a holiday that usually ranks high in my awareness. There’s no tradition of family gathering, no feasting, and almost no special decorations or merchandising. Most people don’t even get the day off.
So, these reflections are partly a kind of penance. I want to compensate a bit for my customary Veterans Day obliviousness—and maybe help a few others do the same.
When I give it some thought, reasons to be thankful for veterans come quickly to mind. These are just a few.
I think it was Aristotle who taught that courage is one of the greatest virtues and that the courage of soldiers who go to battle is the highest form of that virtue. It involves the greatest risk for the least personal benefit.
The Bible associates courage with righteousness.
The connection to faith isn’t hard to see. Both David and Joshua faced war with the conviction that this was what God expected of them and that He would be present with them to achieve His purposes. (David, e.g., 1 Sam 30:6; Joshua, e.g., Josh 10:25).
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation. — George Washington
I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can. To avert or postpone one particular war by wise policy, or to render one particular campaign shorter by strength and skill or less terribly by mercy to the conquered and the civilians is more useful than all the proposals for universal peace that have ever been made; just as the dentist who can stop one toothache has deserved better of humanity than all the men who think they have some scheme for producing a perfectly healthy race. — C.S. Lewis
We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace. Be peaceful, therefore, in warring, so that you may vanquish those whom you war against, and bring them to the prosperity of peace. — Augustine of Hippo
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. — G.K. Chesteron
"As I think back, the one great lesson I learned from my father is that regardless of the work that God has called each of us to do, we must all put our hands on the plow, and not look back at our mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, we should look forward, 'fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith'" - IFWE
(Originally posted at Sometimes a Light, June 6, 2014.)
Two years ago, our family moved back to the rolling hills of southwest Virginia. My husband had been raised here, and even though we had literally traveled the world, he never could quite escape them. I grew up 300 miles north but have found that there is something very familiar about this area. The small communities. The strong sense of place. And family roots that run as deep as the white oaks’. Still, I’ve had a lot to learn in the last two years, to learn the stories that make this place what it is. Most recently, I’ve been learning about the unique price that southwest Virginia paid during World War II.