I’m on a trip to D.C. and I really wanted to walk the city a bit…well at 7 degrees this morning and 15 this evening walking around town was not an option. It was to work, to a meal along the way back and to bed. I just don’t have the right hot gear to have photography fun today. I’m also really tired after a long day of work. I think I walked an easy six to seven miles today between meetings and around the city. I should be in better shape…
Today out of the blue a friend of mine called to tell me he had joined the Knights of Columbus this year…always wanted to, and finally did it this year. I was overjoyed to hear the news. See my favorite memories from my last stint here in Virginia came mostly from my work with the Knights.
Instead of a current memory I thought back to my favorite memories of my previous years here in the region. An this image taken last year about this time was one bringing back good times with my friends helping others, caring for our families or being the visible arm of the order!
Through the storms of life he saves
The four hour trip, planned afternoon meetings, getting a work out….the plans of man.
The morning storm in the nation’s capital…three inches of snow…two cancelled flights (one after I was on board!), the broken luggage carousel adding over an hour to bag recovery, cancelled meetings and arriving after thirteen hours in the dark on a cold blustery night revealed the plans of nature.
I kept my calm…almost completely…read two good books by Scott Hahn and most importantly when I thought I was just going to be beyond frustrated for the day found the place to say my rosary. See I needed calm, and the big glass windows overlooking the tarmac and runways called me. There I stood in the long Atlanta winter sun, the warmth making me relax, and my rosary called.
Today I said the Sorrowful Mysteries (Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crown of Thorns, Carrying the Cross, and Death on the Cross) and it put me right into my place. I thought I had a bad day? That was a bad day!
Suddenly tonight as I was preparing for bed I knew Christ had provided my daily photography inspiration. I could not pass it up, or fail to share right away. It was the what the spirit wished me to do to give back some glory to the Lord for my safe travels.
The theme for the day is to honor veterans for their service, both those who died and those who continue to serve. In its original form, Armistice Day recognized the War to End All Wars. Americans and Europeans moved into isolationism, turned inward and also sowed the seeds for the next war. Free nations cast down their arms, and allowed others to prepare the engines of war to enslave them until it was almost too late. Today we see the same problem around the world. Engines of tyranny now spin up and prepare to pounce when weakness reaches its most critical point.
As a historian, and man of Christian faith, I cannot in good conscience follow that example today. I know there are good people in this world. I also know there are those who give into evil. Those people seek to either turn me to sin as an accomplice or make me their slave. The enemies of freedom will never rest. The enemies of building the Kingdom of God will never cease adapting to our transient strengths in their attempts to tear it down.
In a nation of almost 350 million we have only about 1.5 million under arms today. The nation’s recruiters cannot get enough young men to join the service due to lack on interest, poor fitness, and (frankly) intellectual incapacity. Many men get rejected due to gang affiliation and drug use. So the administration is actually trying to bring foreigners (legal and illegal) into the ranks to defend this country. As a reminder of history….when every great nation began to commission others to defend their statehood they fell. Just look at the history of Rome. Republic to tyranny. Native sons to mercenaries.
So today please consider something a little different for Veteran’s Day. Don’t just thank a veteran, raise a veteran.
As a parent myself I can now feel the fear and angst felt when the child raises their hands to say, “This I will defend.” Despite the angst I know my life is but a transient one. My days of quality service as a front line fighter now extend far into my past. If my children want to be free, and give that gift to their children, they must one day put veteran somewhere on their resume.
It is time we all realize it is not enough to just thank someone else for the gift of freedom. It is time for each man to serve where able. Service in the active duty military, guard, and police, fire and rescue all keep us safe. It does not have to be a career…just a portion of life holding the line against the terrors of the night makes you a worthy veteran in my eyes.
So today do more than thank a veteran. Raise a veteran. Your grandchildren will thank you one day for giving them the gift of liberty.