Meanderings of a Minister

Why We Can Never Lose Sight of Veterans


 “Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16, NASB95)

I was asked to speak at last night’s veterans’ recognition event for the Five State Free Fair.  As I thought about what it means to be a veteran, the thought occurred to me that there seem to be fewer and fewer veterans identifying themselves as veterans and fewer and fewer people that understand the importance of veterans to our nation.  As I thought about it, I remember Jeremiah 6:16 and thought about the importance for more than just our happiness.

Why can we never lose sight of veterans?  For many reasons.  First, veterans are the only significant segment of the population that have given up their freedoms so that you can enjoy yours.  They have stood on the flight line, firing line, front line, and chow line to make sure you could hang clothes on the line in peace.  They have been fired upon so that you can enjoy campfires.  They have gone without sleep so that you can sleep peacefully.  They have stood watch on a dangerous world so that your world would not have to be interrupted.  In an age when everyone wants to talk about their “rights”, we need to remember veterans because it is right.

In addition to veterans’ sacrifice, we also need to remember and recognize veterans because veterans took an oath to defend our constitution and kept their promises.  In an age where, increasingly, politicians are seen as more for themselves than their constituents, we need to have examples of truth, integrity, honor, and kept promises.  Veterans help to keep us from growing so cynical of our nation that we stop defending it and supporting it.

We can also never lose sight of veterans because that was our promise to them.  The general population does not want to have to leave their lives, work, families, or hobbies to have to go and fight an enemy.  They don’t want to have to put up with the horrors of death and destruction, so they sent the veterans to represent them.  The agreement was that the general population would stay behind and support their efforts while they charged into battle.  To forget veterans is to break that promise.

Veterans also represent an understanding of “One Nation Under God”.  While not all veterans are Christians, or even monotheists, or theists, they understand that the true strength of our nation, outside of God, is our unity.  When you are on the battlefield, in the battleship, or battling the incoming jets of a foreign enemy, there is no time for Mexican-American, African-American, Native American, or any other such distinction.  Veterans know that we will only stay strong as long as we learn to see each other as Americans.  Period.  There is no dual citizenship when bullets are flying, bombs are dropping, or bayonets are rattling.  There is only “us” vs. “them” and the “us” is U.S.!

Veterans remind us of what it means to work for our goals, dreams and visions of the future.  They remind us that nothing comes without hard work, sacrifice, and time.  They stand as a beacon of responsibility in a sea of entitlement.  They stand up proudly and show what Americans can do when they work hard, work together, and work for the long haul.

Lastly, veterans represent our past, our heritage, and our history.  They represent our future because without the lessons of our past, we will repeat its mistakes.  They represent our present because they have seen where socialism, Marxism, communism, and elitism have taken other nations and what it takes to win a nation back after it has been taken over by one of these or other ideologies.  They represent what is right and wise, which combine to form righteousness.

We can never lose sight of veterans.  Heaven help us if we do!


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