Veterans Day is a living memorial to the cost in lives, living and dead, and in financial resources to keep this nation faithful to the words of Abraham Lincoln: “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” From the time the Minute Men fought the Redcoats at Lexington and Concord, the citizens of this nation have been called time and again to stand against the forces that would destroy the worth and dignity of human life.
Nov. 11 originally was Armistice Day, set aside to remember the end of World War I and honor the veterans of that conflict. It was made a national holiday in 1938, and in 1954 Congress changed it to Veterans Day to honor those who gave their utmost to achieve and to maintain freedom, liberty and justice, at home and among the world of nations.
The cost of freedom, liberty and upholding the dignity of human life is monumental.
Consider this: There are 146 military cemeteries in the United States and 24 overseas. One of the largest overseas is located just above Omaha Beach, one of the landing sites for the invasion of Europe in June 1944; 9,387 of our citizens who gave the ultimate sacrifice to save the world from tyranny and enslavement are buried in that sacred soil.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 421,525 living veterans in South Carolina; fewer than 20,000 are World War II veterans.
The financial cost of military conflicts is likewise staggering. It is true that we live in a broken and divided world, where forces are continually at work that would enslave the human soul. While it is prudent to maintain a ready military force, we also must continue conversations among the world community that will enhance mutual understanding and promote the well being and the common good of all people.
On this Veterans Day let us pause, give thanks for those who served the cause of peace, justice and freedom, and commend to God’s gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces, at home and abroad. May God bless the United States of America.
Rev. Canon George I. Chassey