Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Yet you risked everything here. Why? We look at you and somehow we know the answer.
It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love…
You all knew that some things are worth dying for.”
President Ronald Reagan—June 6, 1984 in Normandy, France
On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of D-Day
The air is quiet this morning, reflected in the softly hanging folds of our American Flag now posted on our home—almost waiting for something special to occur. As a nation, our thanks will be expressed tomorrow when we will pause to honor those who have served to defend our country in the Armed Forces of the United States of America—our veterans.
I wonder if our expression of thanks to them should be offered every day.
It wasn’t until a dinner one evening about ten years after my service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, that I remember hearing the words “thank you.” Instead, up until that moment, those who had served during that time were often made to feel less than appreciated and were often ridiculed for their service.
At the conclusion of his remarks, the speaker that evening—himself a retired and wounded U.S. Marine—asked all the veterans to stand and be recognized. He began first with WW I, then WW II, then the Korean War, and, finally with the last war of the century at that time, the Vietnam War.
As I slowly stood, with Lynda looking proudly up at me, the tears began to stream down my face from the memories of so many others now gone who served with honor during that time, and endured the pain and criticism by so many who disagreed with the war and ridiculed those who answered their call to duty during that time.
I stood. It was the first time I had been asked to stand for such a moment of appreciation.
It was a defining moment for me—a moment long overdue—recognizing that so many of us wore a sacred and honorable label from within the annals of American history—
We are at the juncture of yet another defining moment in the journey of our nation. A moment where we honor our veterans, while the very foundations of who we are as a nation are being challenged. A moment where attempts are being made to strip those foundations away—the very foundations our veterans stood in the gap to preserve.
And those attempts are coming from many quarters. But the saddest are the attacks by many of those who claim to represent us in our government. Many of those elected officials who have and continue to serve us, yet do so while ignoring the very foundations and pillars of freedom of this great nation those veterans stood for, and still uphold today with their lives—for you and for me, and even for those who would try to strip them away.
I wonder if maybe they have forgotten the words of George Washington reminding us that—
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
I wonder if they have forgotten that clear truth which President Washington expressed when we see a nation where prayer has been removed from our schools, and where the word “God” is removed from public buildings, and sought to be removed from our coins. And a nation where the message of God, and of the Gospel, is so watered down that it has lost its meaning, power and attraction in the world.
Recent polls would suggest that the vast majority of Americans understand and hold dear the important foundations of our nation, and that God is, and has always been, an essential cornerstone of those foundations. And, it seems that we are finally standing up again and being energized to give loud voice to those long-held beliefs. That would be a good and important moment for our nation.
In an interview given a few years ago, Bryant Gumbel asked Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the Reverend Billy Graham this question—
“Why didn’t God stop this (referring to the attacks of September 11, 2001), or do something about it?
To which Anne responded—
“Bryant, for years we have told God we didn’t want Him in our schools. We didn’t want Him in our government and we didn’t want Him in our finances. God was just being a perfect gentleman in doing just what we asked Him to do.
We need to make up our mind…do we want God or do we not want Him? We cannot just ask Him in when disaster strikes.”
The foundations of this great nation are rooted in the eternal concepts of liberty, freedom, a government of the people, and a firm reliance on God. The veterans we honor this week knew that when they stepped forward, raised their hands and said “send me.”
And not only must we always remember—but we must never forget—what they did for us.
May God continue to bless all those veterans who stood and stand in the gap for this great nation, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2014. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.