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.