Veterans Day – Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor

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“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” John 13:34

Veteran’s Day 2014

My father didn’t start talking about his war experiences until late in his life. I think he didn’t want to burden us with difficult memories but eventually opened up and I’m so glad he did. What a testimony to his family of a life well lived.

My Dad was a POW in Nazi Germany for many years after his B-17 was shot down during a military raid. While I think this experience had a profound effect on him, I don’t think it changed him at the core.

My father loved people. My father loved his family. My father really loved Jesus.

Dad led by example and he told the story of walking through deep snow with the frail and aged Nazi guards who were too weak to carry their own weapons. So Dad and the other soldiers carried their guns. They were not required to do so, they did it to help.

I have always found this story to be one of the most striking of my father’s war memories. Dad’s faith in Jesus never wavered and even in the worst of circumstances, he would use an opportunity to share the love of Christ with ANYONE.

On this Veterans Day, I thank Dad for his courage. I thank Dad for his loving heart. I thank Dad for teaching me about Jesus. Dad said that he survived the war through his belief that Jesus was standing beside him and giving him the strength to return home. I believe this and I am grateful to God.

I am sure my Dad is not the first soldier to have Jesus hold his hand and he won’t be the last. I wish this were not so. If we could only truly love our neighbors…

Peace.

O say…

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I love to sing the National Anthem. I know it has a crazy melody and if you start too high you are in a ton of trouble…but I love it anyway. It’s such an interesting anthem.

I remember singing the Star Spangled Banner once a month at church. But what I really like, and I wish more people knew about, is the fact that there are four verses with the fourth verse to the National Anthem as my favorite.

 Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Every time we sang that last verse it was emotional because it is so true. So many have fought for our country and sacrificed greatly so that we may celebrate living in the United States of America. What an honor to be an American.

And what an honor to live in one nation, under God.

May it always be so.