Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thank you to all of the brave men and women who have fought for our country on any field of battle. If you, like I, have never served in the military, please take time today to think about the sacrifices these folks have made to serve us and keep us safe. Think of the doughboy who made his way overseas for the first time, digging trenches in France, shells exploding over his head. Think of the WACS and Joes who went back 30 years later to fight in WWII, arriving on the shores of France like in the photo above. Think of those who went to Korea to stop the spread of communism. Think of those who served in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and Central America, who sweated in the deserts of Iraq, who climbed in the mountains of Afghanistan, and all other places their President has sent them. They went willingly, bravely, to meet an uncertain future and they returned, asking nothing but for us to every once in a while to stop and say thank you. Ponder the sacrifices they and their families made and I dare you not to choke up a bit.
I love how Veterans Day falls on the feast of St. Martin of Tours. When Martin was 10 (326 AD), over his parents' objections, he wanted to be baptized and began to be taught. He eventually joined the Roman army and was stationed in Gaul (modern-day France) where he was born. One day, by the city gate, he saw a beggar with hardly any clothing. Without much thought, he cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar (see picture at right). That night, he had a dream were he saw Jesus wearing his half cloak. He finished his religious training and became baptized. After he left the army, he became a priest, and eventually the bishop of Tours. As a bishop, he passionately defended the Church against the Arian heresy. He died in 397 AD.
St. Martin is the patron saint of soldiers, which makes Veterans Day on November 11 so very cool.
Heavenly Father, through the intercession of St. Martin of Tours, I beg your blessings for those men and women who are veterans of the wars the United States has fought. Please bless them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for our country. Please bless the United States. Please let us be a beacon for freedom and good for the whole world. Mary, the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States, pray for us. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.