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A Veteran's Day Tribute – Appreciation & Encouragement For Those Who Serve

Sat, Nov. 08, 2014 Posted: 10:39 PM


Veterans Day is the day on which we thank and honor those who serve and have served in the military. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 21.8 million military vets in the U.S. Over 1.3 million of those served during multiple wars--837,000 in both Gulf War eras, 211,000 in both the Korean War and Vietnam era and 147,000 in World War II and Korea. There were 49,500 who served in both the Vietnam War and both Gulf War eras and 54,000 who served during the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War II.

President Ronald Reagan understood the huge sacrifice those who serve make and one of his noteworthy speeches honoring military veterans took place on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. The ceremony took place on the northern coast of France, on the spot where Allied soldiers had stormed ashore to liberate Europe from the Nazis--at the site of the U.S. Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc.

Gathered together at this event were D-Day veterans and world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II (UK), King Olav V (Norway), Queen Beatrix (The Netherlands), King Baudouin I (Belgium), Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Canada) and Grand Duke Jean (Luxembourg).

The following is an excerpt from that address:

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers -- the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.”

You can read the full speech here.

To suggest war takes a toll on its participant is a colossal understatment. As President Eisenhower is quoted as saying: "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity." At the same time, King Solomon recognized that, "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Given that, here is how some key biblical figures dealt with the challenges of war:

Psalm 144:1-2

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

 Deuteronomy 20:1-4

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

 1 Corinthians 15:55

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

And then there's what Jesus said of those willing to die for others: "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Be sure to check out this video—an awesome Veterans Day salute!

Candice Lanier