Veterans’ Day is Monday November 11, 2013. Veterans’ Day is one of two National Holidays set aside to remember the men and women who have served the military in the United States. Memorial Day is the other. These days are set aside to remember two different populations. Memorial Day remembers those who died in service to our country, especially those killed in battle or who died from wounds sustained in battle. Veterans’ Day is set aside to remember all those who served in our military in wartime and in peacetime; those who served on the field of battle or in support positions; those who served in the hot wars and those who served in the tense times of the Cold War; so this is the day to salute celebrate and thank those who served in and served the military.
The first ones I want to salute and thank or those who served to meet the religious need of our men and women in uniform and their families: Directors of Religious Education, Chaplains’ Assistants and Chaplains. As I look back at 40 years of service as an assistant and as a chaplain, I remember wonderful times for ministry with men and women of different faith traditions and practices. I have matured in my faith as I learned from you that God is glorified in so many ways by those called to be witnesses to his love and mercy. Many of you have blessed me as you ministered and mentored me. My story is also your story – the meta-narrative of God’s working with those he created in his image and likeness.
I would also like to salute and thank the faith communities where we find a home. The endorsers who give us their blessing by endorsing us into this ministry, the faithful communities of faith that pray for us, that send packages, notes and letters to the men and women in our units and the parents and families who want us to be the presence of God with their loved ones.
Finally, I ask you to join me in saluting, thanking and blessing all those who served with us: officers, enlisted and civilian. We all marvel at their willingness to serve our country, protect our constitution, and obey orders from the mundane to those calling for utmost sacrifice. They all have made an unlimited liability contract that makes service to country a supreme value. We all serve for God and Country.
God Bless You on this Veterans’ Day and all those who serve. We pray especially for those who elect to end their own lives by suicide at the rate of 22 per day. Pray that someone will befriend them, walk beside them, and give them a desire to continue to live scared by the hidden wounds of war.
Chaplain (COL) Herman Keizer, Jr.