By Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – For my son, and for all who serve:
In 1918, “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” the carnage and devastation of the First World War ended in Europe. It was Armistice Day, when the guns ceased firing, the biplanes stopped dropping bombs, the gas masks were put away and, over time, the soldiers returned home.
Soon, November 11 became Veterans Day. For Americans, this day remains fixed at a particular time and date, rather than shifting to a Monday or Friday. In every cycle of the seasons, this day falls in the same month as Thanksgiving, a moment to render gratitude to the One Who made us.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, in a statement released Tuesday (November 10), said, “I’m asking all Oklahomans to join me in thanking our veterans for everything they have done for the people of Oklahoma and for this country. We should never forget their dedication and their service.
“My sincerest and deepest thanks go out to every man and woman who has worn the uniform of the United States military, as well as their families. Please join me in saying a prayer for our men and women in the military and thanking them for their time and sacrifice.”
In Midwest City, the annual parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Century Boulevard and SE 15, with the bands and marchers heading east to Douglas Boulevard, then north to Reno Avenue and west to Morris McGee Avenue. The marshal is Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Tinker Air Force Base.
Sunday, at Temple B’nai Israel, the Gardner Weiss Post 618 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States was formally established.
Today in Tulsa, one entry in the annual Veterans Day parade will honor Muslim veterans of U.S. military service.
Christians across the land remember this day in quiet ways inclusive of diverse faith traditions, while lifting up through intercessory prayer those who have served and are serving.
Who better than the brave soldier exemplifies, as the Savior said, the greatest love: A willingness to lay down one’s own life (John 15:14), for friends, for us?
Across America, the day is a time to remember all Veterans, living and dead. Dwight David Eisenhower, general and president, once asked the nation: “Let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
As years pass, greater awe should envelop, enfold us, comfort us as we witness the service of those who, generation after generation, put themselves in harm’s way for our sake, for America’s sake, for our protection, on behalf of liberty and decency in a fallen world.