I wrote this on Saturday night. I spoke this in chapel on Sunday. I saved it for today because, well, because we were all saying “Thanks” on Sunday. I wanted to still remember.
In the US, it’s Veterans Day. It’s a day to give honor to those who have served in the military. And there are a lot of those people. Some of them saw a job to do and they volunteered to do it. Some of them were of the right age at the right time and were drafted, and still did the job as well as they could.
Some of them trained hard, did their work, heard about war but were protected from facing it. Others trained hard, and then faced more than anyone would ever want to, than anyone should ever have to. Our dad was in the latter group.
Humans in leadership often make choices that are horrible for others. It’s happened as long as there have been people. Soldiers and sailors and airmen are part of the response. They give time and opportunities and safe memories for the sake of others.
The veterans I know weren’t fans of battle. Many prayed for peace with an honesty and passion that grow from experience.
It sounds like a formula to say, “Thank you for your service.” But as the son of a veteran, a veteran who lived with the cost of that service for more than sixty years, it’s not a formula. It’s an acknowledgement that the cost is often greater than anyone expects, and the willingness to serve is worth honoring.