Veterans Day

Reflections on Veterans Day

One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.

Our Veterans… and Those Who Would Forget Them

Veterans Day

The concept of American exceptionalism is one of those ideas that tends to be debated down ideological lines. Do we offer a better version of life here in this country, where we place a premium on things like freedom, the sanctity of human rights, and the messy beauty of diversity of thought and the power of unrestricted speech? Or is it all just some ego trip dreamed up by warmongers who want to leave a small legacy when they die? If one tends toward the former, which is to say they believe the United States offers something that has no precedent in human history, then chances are that person values the men and women who defend that unique system. However, if one tends toward the latter, they may find themselves agreeing with a recent Salon piece, presented in all its cynical glory by Legal Insurrection yesterday:

Most Americans appreciate the sacrifice these people make when they volunteer to join the military, putting their lives on the line to defend our freedoms.

The far left folks at Salon are not most people.

They have a slightly (ahem) different interpretation of that sacrifice and that’s why they published this piece by David Masciotra:

“You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy

A Word of Gratitude for Our Veterans

Veterans Day

In 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the armistice began which brought to a close World War I, the “war to end all wars”; at that time the bloodiest war in all of human history, which consumed the lives of an estimated ten million men, with another twenty million wounded.

One year later, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as “Armistice Day” in honor of the peace that had finally been brought to Europe, and of the brave men who fought for that peace.On June 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to honor not only the cessation of hostilities in WWI, but also to honor all U.S. veterans who’d fought to preserve peace and liberty.

Today, many of America’s finest sons and daughters are standing in harm’s way in the far reaches of the world, prepared to lay their lives down so that we may be free. They have sworn an oath to protect America from her enemies, some of which are abroad, and some of which are here at home. Why would they do this? Why would they leave home and hearth, the sweet embrace of their wives or husbands, the tender kisses of their children? Because they understand that freedom is never very far from extinction, and must be fought for diligently against any encroachments.

Veterans Day

Regardless of how you feel about the conflicts our country is currently undertaking, please take a moment out of your day to thank a veteran for serving and sacrificing for our country.


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