Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:7-8
“All gave some, some gave all…”
Attributed to Korean War veteran Howard William Osterkamp
Today is Veterans Day in the United States. It is the day that we honor those men and women who have served their country in the uniform of one of our armed services. It is a day that we give due honor to all of our veterans, many of whom gave their lives for their country.
It was originally called, and still is in many countries, “Armistice Day”, commemorating November 11, 1918 when hostilities of the First World War ended. Indeed, I remember my parents still called November 11 “Armistice Day” into the 1980’s, even though it was officially changed to “Veterans Day” in 1954.
I am currently reading a book about World War I, and I am once again struck by the incredible carnage of that terrible war. Millions of young men were killed by shells, bullets, poison gases, and disease during that terrible conflict. In the entire length of the months-long battle of the Somme, over 400,000 soldiers were killed- almost 30,000 on the first day of action. These were the Allied losses of French, British, Russian and British Commonwealth soldiers. This figure does not even include Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria) losses. That war was literally a world war, involving most industrialized nations of the world by war’s end.
America entered the war in March 1917, and proportionate to the amount of time the Americans were in the war, the loss of life was high. Over 117,00 soldiers died and over 200,000 were wounded in just 18 months of involvement.
The entire world was shaken, and then reshaped by World War I. Political and national borders were carved out that cause strife until this very day. It was called the “war to end all wars”, and ironically, it set the stage for many future wars.
So, as we remember Veterans Day, we salute all those who have served their country proudly. We are proud of you…
Prayer: Lord, we are grateful for the sacrifices of those who have served to protect us, Amen