Veterans Day

(This is a day late in publishing, but I wrote it yesterday.)

Veterans day, to some, may just be another holiday.  Another "small print holiday" on the calendar, like boxing day, or Chinese New Year.  Of course, most would probably hold this holiday more of a celebration than the others, but how many of us truly understand what Veterans Day means?

    American soldiers, and every other soldier, no matter what country they are from, has given up something.  Not only time and energy, but many their lives.  No only limbs and injuries, lose of hearing or seeing, but also mentally.  What those men and women have seen, experienced and had to do is far beyond comprehension.  We should celebrate Veterans Day, to honor those who gave so much for our freedom.

  My grandfather is a Vietnam veteran.  This fact is particularly close to my heart because of the fact that this war, though recent, has been almost forgotten, and was certainly in it's time scorned.  It was at the stage where the want for world peace was spreading throughout Americans, particularly the youth.  Many of our soldiers, returning home, found that they were scorned and even hated because of their service, as if they wanted to go out and kill.  Most were drafted in, and had no other choice, and yet when they should have been received with open arms and welcomed home to recover, they were rejected and despised.  My grandfather joined right before they sent out drafts; he did this because he knew that being drafted was coming and he wanted to be able to choose on as many options that he could.  Of the unit that he was sent to Vietnam with, he was the only one to return to the United States alive.  This breaks my heart to think of his friends and comrades that he would have made, being so close to them, and to lose every single one of them.  My grandfather also lost his hearing because of all the explosions, shots and cannons going off around him, and not having access to the right protection.  My grandfather gave, not only his hearing and youth, and risked his life, but also his peace of mind.  My grandmother has told me that he still, even to this day, will have terrible nightmares of things that he saw and did.  I cannot imagine being given a gun and told to shoot oncoming men.  The thought devastates me.

  There is a neighbor that we have talked to that is also a Vietnam veteran, although he never actually went to Vietnam.  He said that he only went to a training camp in Europe, but the war ended before he ever got to Vietnam.  Despite this, he still served his country.  He says that, as a 19 year old farm boy who had never been more then a hour away from home, who had never been on a train, plane or bus, that when he experienced all 4 of those things and went across the ocean with the intent to go to Vietnam, that he felt like a scared little boy, overwhelmed, and just wanting to go home.

So as we celebrate Veterans Day, let us not get caught up and lost in the celebration of it.  We need to stop and think about what each of these soldiers personally gave up to bring freedom to our country, and to us.  Take time to pray for these soldiers that, if they do not know the LORD, that they would be saved, pray for their peace of mind and that the nightmares that plague them would subside.  Pray also for the family members who have also suffered, those who have lost family members on duty, and those who, though many years have past, still think about and mourn for them.  And may we remember, that just as freedom in our country is not free, our spiritual freedom is not free either.  Christ fought and won the spiritual battle, and we need to repent of our sins and turn to him, so that we too can share in His victory, just as we share in the victory of those who have served and are still serving.

Below is a link to a video by Twila Paris that touches of the connection between spiritual and physical battles and veterans.  Please watch it, it is well worth your time and hopefully it will give you something to think about.

Also, take time to thank a veteran, not just on Veterans Day, but everyday!  Take time to write a short, handwritten note or letter, and make sure that these men and women know that you care.  You can find online address to send letter and cards to soldiers currently serving, and there are organizations that take old phones and donations to send them to soldiers so that they can call home.  Today, at a restaurant, I saw a girl, about 13 or so, handing out short, handwritten notes to the men and women that had "I Served" stickers on (They gave them to the veterans at the door) just telling them thank you for serving.  That is a really neat idea, I think.  I even heard of a lady who sent Halloween candy to the soldiers, rather then passing it out to trick-or-treaters.  These are all good ideas, and even if you don't do any of these big projects, even just telling someone that you knew served, or had a close relative serve, thank you will mean a lot.  And it is the least that we can do.

If you are reading this and a close family member of your either has served, is serving, or had died in the fight, I thank them, and you, from the deepest part of my heart.  May the LORD be with you and your whole family.

Thank you, and in Christ,

Jessica Joy

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