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Post-Veterans Day Reflections

November 13, 2019

Every year when Veterans Day rolls around, I stand a little taller and prouder and I’m more grateful than I was the year before. My memories of my father and his service to our nation make my heart beat a little faster when I contemplate again all he sacrificed and endured to give me the nation I have.

I’m also thrilled to look at Facebook and various businesses and towns where countless people are paying tribute to the ones in their lives who served so willingly and gave so greatly for us to have this magnificent home. I have traveled considerably around the world, and everywhere I go most of the people I meet would give anything to have a chance to live here and enjoy the freedoms we have. The things we take for granted and feel free to criticize and complain about are things most people on the planet are denied.

It is true that our nation is far from perfect, but the practice of second guessing, slandering, protests, and disrespect that is common among far too many citizens when they speak of the United States and our leaders is part of the gift our veterans gave us. The freedom to disagree civilly is a wonderful freedom, not to be abused.

But freedom to disagree and express our opinion is also a responsibility. Especially as Christ followers, we must do it with respect, civility, and an understanding that part of democracy is agreeing to abide by the rules determined by a majority vote and follow the leaders duly elected unless doing so violates our commitment to Christ. And even then, the spirit of Christ is to mark our interactions.

The greatest proof of integrity and faith is not what we say or even what we believe. It’s how we behave, particularly when we are in a minority position. Particularly when we are crossed. Veterans Day is always a call for me to live in difficult situations in a way that honors the sacrifices of those who made our differences of opinion possible.

I do it first and for-most in honor and commitment to the One who made the greatest sacrifice for me, Jesus Christ. I’d like to start a new movement—one that is more about having an honorable Veterans Day than a happy Veterans Day.

Thanks, Dad, and all the men and women like you. Your gift is priceless.