Take time to thank those who serve in our armed forces
By Cdr. John W. Maurice, CHC, USN (Retired)
Saturday, November 4, 2017
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." — (1 Corinthians 16:13)
November 11 is Veteran’s Day. Title 38 defines a veteran as anyone who has served in the armed forces and was discharged under honorable conditions. Today there are nearly 22 million veterans in America whose service spans from World War II to the present.
War is a horrible thing, and in a good and decent society it is a last resort. But due to the evil in the human heart, hatred and war are a part of the human story. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”
In the late 1800s many mistakenly believed that humankind was inherently good and that enlightened and educated people would never wage war again. Then came World War I. It was called “the war to end all wars.” The devastation experienced in this horrible war was so unsettling that the nations of the world wanted to prevent such a slaughter from ever happening again. Sadly, the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 set the stage for World War II.
Tom Brokow’s 1998 book, “The Greatest Generation,” profiled members of the generation of warriors who defeated Hitler in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific. In the book, Brokaw wrote: "It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced." He argued that these men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the "right thing to do."
Unfortunately, wars did not end with World War II. From 1950-53 American citizens were engaged in the Korean Conflict. In 1964 the United States got pulled into another conflict — before Afghanistan the longest military conflict in U.S. history — Vietnam. More than 58,000 Americans were killed and another 304,000 were wounded in Vietnam. In 1985 former President Richard Nixon said, “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.”
In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and the United States and coalition partners liberated Kuwait from Iraq in what was called was the Gulf War or Desert Storm. We have also seen our troops committed in smaller regional conflicts and scuffles in Panama, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Since 9/11 our military has been engaged in the Global War on Terror.
Throughout our nation’s history, young men and women have raised their hands and taken an oath. That simple oath is a promise to “support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Veterans are Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Veterans are Christians, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Veterans work alongside other citizens at automobile dealerships, universities, retail shops and factories. Veterans live in your neighborhood, attend your house of worship, eat in the booth next to yours at your favorite restaurant, and make a positive difference in your community.
On this Veterans Day take a moment to give a simple “thank you” to a veteran for wearing the uniform of our democratic republic. To those of you who served, I salute you. Bravo Zulu — well done!
John W. Maurice, a retired commander in the U.S. Navy, is interim president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.