I am thankful for the men and women who served in our nation’s armed forces.
Four men in my family are veterans. My grandmother’s brother served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and died on Iwo Jima. While he died a long way from home, he died protecting his home. While I never met him, having been born 25 years after he died, he sacrificed his life for me and for that I am thankful!
I am also thankful for my grandfather. He was a private in the 1st Division of the U.S. Army in World War II. He fought at Normandy and at Bastogne. He received the Purple Heart and came home to raise a family. He then served as a U.S. Postman till he retired. He died in the late 80’s while I was a seminary student. He never told me about his experiences in the war, much like most veterans.
That is why I am also thankful for historians like Stephen Ambrose who were able to get veterans to open up about their experiences and publish them in books like “Band of Brothers.”
I am also thankful for my uncle, who served in the U. S. Marines but not in combat. He was part of a peace-time military that is also important to the protection of our nation.
And I am especially thankful for my dad who served in the U.S. Army in the tenuous peace of the early 1960’s. He served in a missile defense unite that proved to be vitally important to winning the cold war.
But November 11 is also the Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours. He is considered the patron saint of soldiers. Military chaplains are also saints to soldiers, often being the first person to provide comfort when tragedy strikes.
My friend, Kurt Taylor, is a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and has served troops here in the U.S. and in Southwest Asia. I thank him and all chaplains for their vital service in our nation’s armed services.