A Day of Remembrance and Appreciation for Those Who Have Served

Years ago, it was just another day off.  My most formative years were in times of peace.  Since then, and especially now, with war being such a prevalent part of our national conscience, I’ve grown in appreciation and gratitude for our American Military.  94 years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the world celebrated because World War I was over.  President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation to celebrate Armistice Day on November 11, 1918. It was declared a national holiday in 1938 and in 1954, the name was changed to Veterans’ Day in honor of all U.S. soldiers of any war.

The lives and careers of our nation’s military follow quite a paradox. They love America, so they spend years overseas in defense of her shores. They revere freedom, yet they sacrifice their own so that others may be free. They value their own right to live as individuals, yet yield their individuality in that cause. Perhaps, most ironic of all, they value life, yet with great courage, are prepared to die in the service of their country.

Back in 2009, I sat in the Minneapolis Airport awaiting my connecting flight to San Francisco. All of the sudden, dozens and dozens and dozens of soldiers returning from the Middle East flooded through terminal.  It was a sacred moment that was met with reverent silence by the other travelers.  Then all of the sudden, applause, clapping, and cheering erupted throughout the corridor.  Children began to salute and women and men reached out to shake the hands of the veterans marching by.  Many of the soldiers, as well as the spectators began to tear up during this profound display of gratitude and respect.

There are so many things we can learn from the life of a soldier.  The willingness to serve, the commitment to lay one’s life down, strict and precise ongoing training, standing up to the enemy, the need for courage, the dependence on comrades, the surrender of personal freedom for the cause, and the submission to a higher authority.  SACRIFICE.

For those of us resting securely back here in America, it is paramount that we get their backs in prayer.  While we pray for peace and an end to wars, let’s implore God to look over them as they serve.  Please pray…

  • For all U.S. Military, particularly those stationed in the battlefield overseas:  protection from harm, vigilance, and rest.
  • During times of loneliness may receive courage, strength, and grace; that they’d find and follow Christ.
  • Also for their families:  spouses, children, and relatives; that they’d experience peace in comfort during times of separation.
  • That they’d return safely with no chronic or crippling effects.
  • That they’d return to a respectful and grateful nation.
  • For those who are still suffering from tours of duty:  Injuries, nightmares, anxiety, PTSD, homelessness, unemployment, strained relationships
  • Specifically for the American troops who remain in Iraq and for a quick end to the Afghan War.

Jeph Escueta, Aaron Wilcoxon, Kevin and Debra Crandall, Micah Yeackley, Tyler Schmidt, Urbana Police Chief Pat Connolly, Bob Carr, Derek Taylor, Andrew Jurgens, Adam Eppinger, Matt Carter, Dwayne Wells, Jacob Peoples, Owen Peoples, David Penny, Raymond Hill, Richard Adkins, Eric Fredrickson, Nathan Fredrickson, Dave Rees, and Russell Beck.

And I honor Justin Penrod who died for his country in August, 2007, and my grandfather, Cesar Villegas.

Please show your appreciation to the veterans in your life:

  • Shake their hand or hug them
  • Offer to babysit their kids so they can spend time with their spouse
  • Give them a call, write a note, post on their Facebook wall to say thanks
  • Bake them some cookies or have them over for dinner
  • Take them out for dinner at Applebee’s!!!  (It’s free today for Veterans)
  • Get creative in showing your appreciation for their lives



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