Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

A debt of gratitude to our veterans.

Many people think Memorial Day is Veterans Day, but they are different - Memorial Day honors the dead who gave their lives for our country, while Veterans Day honors all Veterans - the living and the dead.  November 11 is the designated 'Rememberance' day - as it is known elsewhere, which commemorates the armistice 'signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918', thus ending WWI - the 'Great War'.  Ever since, it has been observed as Armistice Day or Veterans Day as it is now called in the U.S..
It remains a day we remember all veterans, honoring their memory with prayer and fitting memorials.  It seems to me providential that the day falls upon the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, the great monastic bishop and former military man.  St. Martin is often depicted in art as a military officer seated majestically upon a horse, cutting his cloak in half to share with a beggar by the roadside.  As the story goes, later that night while asleep, the Lord appeared to him clothed in the same cloak, commending the saint for his charity, echoing the gospel, "I was naked and you clothed me."
Some speculate that the beggar St. Martin gave his cloak to could have been a former soldier, impoverished after his service in the Imperial armies.  It seems a fair speculation since we know, even in our times, how badly soldiers can be treated after their return home from combat, missing limbs, head injuries requiring ongoing care, as well as post traumatic stress issues.  We see stories on the news how many times these veterans cannot get the treatment and care they need because benefits run out, coverage is denied, or their cases are stalled in political and bureaucratic bumbling.  Sadly, too many of our veterans find themselves homeless as a result.  (US Department of Veteran's Affairs provides information on how to help here.)
The example of St. Martin and the observance of Veterans Day demands we honor our veterans, especially by caring for their needs - in humble gratitude for their sacrifice in defending the American people and serving our country.


  1. My dad, a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, drafted into service as a doctor, left our family of two children, a wife, and a child on the way, to serve our country. He cared for our soldiers and for the people of South Vietnam; with great love and devotion. Some Vietnamese seminarians, my fellow classmates, when they learned that Dad had served in Vietnam, cared for their people, adopted me as one of their own.
    I was particularly touched and moved; the sacrifice he had to make, and the sufferings involved for everyone, made this worth it.
    Thank you, Daddy.
    I love you and I am so proud of you that you gave of yourself when it was so very difficult.
    God bless and keep all our veterans, esp. those who suffer untold agony because of their service. Jesus, mercy!

  2. Nice post Terry (sorry, can't find Mr. Button in this post).

    Here's my Remembrance Day (Canada) art post.

    Aside: It's there whether anyone donates or not. Why not donation some time to a Vet.

  3. Wonderful tribute..thank you Terry.

    And thanks to all of my fellow brothers and sisters in arms in America and around the world...God Bless you and welcome home :)


  4. thanks, terry. my dad is a korean war veteran; served 3 tours in korea. you bring up the war, he starts crying. my brother is an air force lieutenant colonel, my sister a retired air force major, and i was an air force captain so this day is very dear to our family. say a prayer for dad. he's in the hospital as i type this.

  5. doughboy: My prayers, lad.
    May Jesus and Mary give every grace and blessing; peace and your Dad, esp.
    I understand. My Da wouldn't talk about hardly anything when it came to the details of what he had been through. I cannot even imagine.

  6. DB - prayers for your dad - and you - one of his care-givers. You are a good man.


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