This may seem like an odd topic for a blog devoted to spiritual leadership of the family, but my reality is that my very first lessons on leadership were learned during my years of military service. Sure, the US Marine Corps was not concerned with my spiritual wellbeing and how well I lived out my biblical responsibilities as a husband and father. However, the US Marine Corps was concerned with how well I reacted and lead during times of extreme stress, fatigue, and pressure. The Marine Corps wanted to know that when danger strikes and lives are on the line, my leadership would withstand the fear and my influence would guide others out of danger. Hmm, sounds a lot like the responsibilities of the spiritual leader of a family.
As most Americans are aware, November 11th of each year is set aside to recognize and express appreciation for those that have served in our US military. As a veteran, I will say that such recognition is greatly appreciated. However, you should know that most veterans did not make the choice to enter the military in order to be recognized on this national holiday. Most veterans didn’t even enter the military for the other benefits – free driver’s licenses, free hunting/fishing licenses, discounts at do-it-yourself stores, or free meals on Veteran’s Day. Most veterans made the choice to serve in our nation’s military out of a sense of patriotism, love, and loyalty for our country. Don’t confuse that patriotism, love, and loyalty as such for our government, but more so for the people of our country and the principles that have made our nation the greatest in the history of the world. Knowing this, let me share with you 3 ways that I believe you can truly honor veterans everyday.
The purpose of Veteran’s Day is to recognize and remember those that have served in our military. This is wonderful and all, but don’t forget about others that are impacted by a veteran’s service. The spouses and children of service members in many ways make equal sacrifices of patriotism, love, and loyalty as do the veterans themselves. The days, weeks, months, even years of separation and loneliness are huge sacrifices made by family members of our veterans. Added to the separation and loneliness is the concern over the unknown. Many family members will daily concern themselves with details that they may never know. Where is my loved one today? What types of danger is he facing today? Who is watching out for her safety today? Will I get a knock on the door today? You will never more honor a veteran than to care for their spouse and family, especially in their absence.
As I mentioned earlier, most veterans serve out of patriotism, love, and loyalty to the people of our country and principles that make America a great nation. The freedoms and securities protected by our military afford every American opportunities that a very small percentage of the world’s population realize. Through the freedoms of speech, freedoms of religious exercise, and the freedoms of a capitalistic economy Americans have tremendous opportunity to positively impact others. These opportunities are far too often taken for granted. The opportunities enjoyed by Americans should inspire us all to strive toward the betterment of everyone around the world. If you want to honor veterans, get off your rear and exercise the freedoms and opportunities that those veterans have protected over the years.
Respect the history and the principles that founded this great nation. Though it is a topic of great debate in our nation today, I believe their is abundant evidence within official documents and personal papers of those that established our nation to support the notion that our nation was founded upon biblical principles. You will find biblical references and phrases captured in various areas of our nation’s founding. References to God and our Creator are stamped into buildings, monuments, and official documents that establish and celebrate our beginnings. Now, you may argue that references to God are ambiguous and could pertain to anyone’s definition or understanding of God. However, you must also recognize the personal beliefs of those that first penned such phrases. Personal papers of the authors of our country are replete with clear confessions of faith in the biblical Lord and God. The freedoms and securities granted individuals through the establishment of this country are rooted in the principles found in the Bible. I’m not suggesting that you must be a Christian and believer in Jesus to honor veterans, I’m only suggesting that you respect the history and principles of our founding.
There you have it, 3 ways you can honor our nation’s veterans every day – not just on Veteran’s Day. I want to wish a very happy Veteran’s Day to all that have served in our nation’s military.
How would you suggest that we honor our veterans? Do you have special memories of a veteran? Share your thoughts and comments regarding our veterans or our military in the comments below.