Fri., Nov. 11, 2016
2 Kings 19:34: For I will protect this city to save it, for My own sake and for the sake of David My servant.”
Today is American Veteran’s Day. Nov. 11 is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended World World I between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. On Veteran’s Day, vets are thanked for their service as we honor those who have served our country.
The picture with this post has special meaning to me. It’s my Dad, a vet from the Korean conflict. After basic training, he was stationed in a post-World War II Germany. Germany had divided into East Germany and West Germany. Soldiers like my Dad were involved in trying to keep peace in Europe. While my Dad spoke very little of his time in the service, I do remember him speaking of how hot the conflict during the Cold War was.
My Dad served in the Army overseas for about 18 months. He came back to the US on a three-week leave in June 1955 when my parents married. He returned to West Germany and my Mom continued to live in rural, central Iowa. Towards the end of his original enlistment period, my Dad re-enlisted. Some of the guys he served with didn’t re-enlist. They went to California for a short period of time, waiting to be sent to Korea. The Korean conflict ended and their time of service was completed. My Dad remained in Germany another year.
About a year ago, I was going through some things from my parents. When we moved my Mom into an apartment two years ago, I brought home some boxes of things to be sorted. In the meantime, I had also moved and hadn’t gotten through the boxes. Last fall I began going through these boxes and found a journal from when my Dad was in the service. At Christmas time, my family has a white elephant gift exchange of sorts. I wrap up various items collected from our family history. Family members open the gifts and have a chance to “steal” an item from another family member. I knew my Dad’s journal would be the most highly sought after item at last year’s Christmas. And it was. One of my nephew’s has this book proudly in his possession. It’s a history lesson on my Dad and his time of service.
Today, I don’t want to debate whether war is justifiable or not. I don’t want to reflect upon appropriate use of military power. I think we’ve had enough American history this past week to ponder and reflect upon. What I do want to do is honor and respect those who have protected my family, friends and country over the years. It is something we can easily take for granted. Honestly, I never had a conversation with my Dad about how he felt about war and military power. When he was drafted, he understood this was his responsibility. And he fulfilled it.
What is our responsibility as U.S. citizens today? To love our country and encourage our elected leaders and those charged with protecting this country. While we often may not agree on what is appropriate military action, I pray we can see the necessity of having it in place.
Unfortunately, war has been a part of humanity from early on. Many people read the “fighting” parts of the Bible and question how a loving God could allow or be a part of such awful things. Simply put: for protection. Time and again, God chose to protect the Israelites from enemy neighbors. As long as there is evil in this world, protection will be needed.
Can we all take an extra minute and thank a veteran this day for protecting us? Unfortunately, evil continues in this world and therefore, protection is necessary.
Thank you, Almighty God, for protecting us even when we were not aware we needed protection. We ask that you provide a cloud of protection for those scattered around the world trying to protect vulnerable people. We lift them up to you this day. Amen.
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