...... honor to whom honor." Rom. 13:7
Well, it hardly seems like a whole year has passed since we paid "honor" to our nation's veterans, but it surely has as Friday last was Veteran's Day. To me that holiday is sort of like Mother's Day in that I don't believe our honoring should be relegated to just one day per year. Both honoree's deserve to receive "honor" all year round, but I guess that I should be glad that our society hasn't gotten so unconcerned and indifferent that it still sets aside a special day for them.
Several thoughts have shared space in my mind about the "honor due" our veterans and I'd like to share them with you for a few moments today. Being a person who loves history, I especially like military history. I'm always running across items that are inspirational and can be cited as illustrations for scriptural lessons. Allow me to provide you with one I read about some time ago and found inspiring.
I know that, in the past, I've written about many of the "negatives" surrounding Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and deservedly so. But let me tell you about a "positive" that relates to our "honor" of veterans. Perhaps you'll recall a great and accomplished actress by the name of Elsa Lanchester. She was, by all measures of acting, a Hollywood star.
It was reported that during WW2 she would give informal parties at her house for servicemen that were going to war. She had made up what she referred to as her "Servicemen's Book" and she would ask the soldiers at her parties to write their name and address in her book. As they did so she would tell them that she would pray for them constantly for their safe return and for God to watch over them.
When she received word that they had returned from the war she would look up the name in her book and then write after it, "Thank You, God." You see, not all entertainers or people associated with that business are of a reprobate character. It's just unfortunate that it seems the reprobates far outnumber the good ones.
Another thought occupying space in my head was the awarding of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Salvatore Giunta about this time last year. I have to tell you up front something that really upsets me regarding the Medal of Honor and that's hearing someone, especially a media personality, make mention of one "winning" the medal. One doesn't "win" the Medal of Honor (or any other medal for valor), they are "awarded" it. They are a "recipient" of it. IT IS NOT A CONTEST!
In the ceremony accompanying Sgt. Giunta's award I noticed two things interesting that relate to "honor." One of a positive nature and the other, a negative. The positive was of course, this most deserved "honor" bestowed upon Sgt. Giunta. The negative aspect of "honor" was that there were three rows of people standing behind the President and Sgt. Giunta during the award ceremony. The first two rows were made up of politicians (and I can only think of "photo op") and the families of Sgt. Giunta and of the deceased soldiers he tried to save had to stand in the third row - behind the politicians. That was not honorable to me.
That dishonor of the families brings me to another one of my thoughts and that relates to a phrase we hear from time to time in military reporting. (Sometimes too often) That phrase is "collateral damage." It's usually mentioned to describe and incident wherein persons who were not intended to be harmed by a military action were. I'd like to take that phrase a step further for a moment.
Did you ever consider that the families, the parents, the wives, the children (et al) of the personnel either killed or wounded in action are also "collateral damage?" I certainly do and I believe that as we pay "honor" to our fallen veterans the families of those veterans, those "collaterally damaged" victims are "due honor" also.
Yes, we owe a great deal of "honor" to all of our veterans, especially the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and lie in graveyards here or in foreign lands or were consigned to the depths of the sea. And, our "dues" go back to the very foundation of this country. My next part of this editorial is a citation to you of part of a sermon I once read and it so inspired me that I copied it down. It so relates to what our nation owes our veterans. The "honor" that they are "due."
The preacher of this sermon reminded the congregation of the scene of Valley Forge during the War of Independence. For them to picture the cold, the starving soldiers and all the terribleness of that situation and then to picture one of the soldiers facing them with his musket in his hand and saying these words.....
"I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.
It's the soldier not the reporter who gives the freedom of the press. It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech. It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate. It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!"
The sermon concluded with the prayer below and I find it a fitting close to my thoughts today. And as you read it, please remember all of our veterans of past wars and conflicts plus those still going on as we speak. And also their families, that "collaterally damaged" group who also sacrifice.
And lastly, remember that greatest and most beneficial sacrifice of all, the voluntary death of our Lord and Savior on the cross. It's the "greatest and most beneficial" because the "freedoms" are eternal.
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they
protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior. Amen!"