Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Veterans Day - 2008"

  • The eleventh hour... of the eleventh day... of the eleventh month. The commemoration of the end of "The War To End All Wars" - the end of World War I in 1918. Sometimes eloquence wins out over the sobering notion of our human nature, does it not? In the aftermath of WWII, President Eisenhower made November 11th - "Veteran's Day" - an official US holiday to honor those who have served this nation in uniform. This is a fitting complement to "Memorial Day" which honors those killed in service to this country. President Calvin Coolidge opined that, "A nation which does not remember its Veterans, will soon no longer be remembered."

  • I attended two Veteran's Day events today. One at 9:00AM at Heroes Memorial Park and one at 10:00AM at the new Flagler County Administration Building. Both were short, simple, reverent, and compelling. I shook hands with a 90 year old veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. I introduced myself and told him that my uncle had been a glider pilot and shot down and killed in that same battle. He allowed that he too had been a glider pilot all those years ago.
  • Something bothered me today... maybe "concerned" is a better word. I'll bet that fewer than 10% of those attending either event was under the age of 60. So many Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen with white hair and bad knees. Hats, vests, and jackets with patches, pins, medals, and campaign ribbons from WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. But where were the younger people? Just look at the roles of organizations like the VFW and the American Legion. Disproportionately older. This country is currently in economic chaos and I sure hope we can fix it. The bigger challenge, however, is the battle for this nation's soul. Who are we? What do we stand for? What will we fight for? Do we still honor our Founding Fathers and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights... or do we want to change things... mix it up... "modernize" those old concepts?
  • We have a new President now. I pray for his success as our leader and as the Commander in Chief of our military forces. I voted for the other guy, yet I passionately want President Obama to succeed. The phrase that hit me hard on election night went like this: "The Republicans have lost this election because their campaign was aimed at how America used to look. The Democrats have won because their efforts have been targeted at what America looks like today." Powerful statement. My hope is that "what we look like today" still honors this country's traditions and pays tribute to its veterans - and pays attention to what President Calvin Coolidge said. God Bless our Veterans and God Bless America.

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