November 11th…a good day for me. I served proudly in the US Navy for 8 years, and today is a special time of thinking back on my military service. It is a day to remember long hours, boring watches, good friends and wearing the uniform with pride and distinction.
It is a time to remember the service of those who wore the uniform and then returned to civilian life. The men and women you see around you today will include many veterans, though they may not shout it from the rooftops. Today they are retail managers, financial planners, security experts, stay at home moms, electricians, doctors, business owners, firefighters, and more. They are old and young, rich and poor, successful and struggling. All of them gave up their own rights to defend the rights of others, and for that I am grateful.
If you’re not familiar with the history of Veteran’s Day read the official history on the VA website. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 (November 11th, in other words) the Axis and Allies officially ceased hostilities. While the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 28th, still President Woodrow Wilson designated November 11th as Armistice Day, the day to celebrate the end of “the war to end all wars.” In 1954 Congress changed Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day to include the men and women who had fought in WWII and Korea.
Soldiering has a long and storied history, and is mentioned positively in many places in Scripture. Soldiering is used as a powerful metaphor for the Christian life by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:3-4:
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
One of the more common titles for God in the Old Testament is the “Lord of Hosts” (it appears 239 times in the Hebrew Bible), which pictures God at the head of an angelic army. Paul also calls Epaphroditus his “fellow soldier” in Phil 2:25 as well as Archippus in Philemon 2. The early church picked this metaphor up, with the church father Cyprian (c. 200-258) using the metaphor of soldiering to describe martyrdom for Christ.
Soldiering is presented as an honorable profession in Scripture when it is pursued with integrity and honor. So today I salute my fellow veterans.
(yeah, that’s me…15 years and 50 pounds ago! Boot camp graduation late June 1995)
Take some time today and thank the veterans in your life. Their service defended the freedom that you enjoy today!
 Roberts, Alexander, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V : Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Page 579. Cyprian, “On the Glory of Martyrdom”, Argument 26.