As an American, it’s easy to feel discouraged this Veterans Day. News that the United States Air Force’s dereliction of duty in reporting felony convictions under the Uniformed Military Code of Justice allowed an angry wife abuser to pass federal NCIS background checks resulting in a church massacre makes the blood boil. The incompetence of government is on full display and impending investigations don’t calm my nerves. The lack of reporting was known by the Pentagon and goes back nearly 20 years. So how can we proudly lift up flags and hearts this weekend in good conscience?
Because our military service members are lifting up arms in harm's way regardless of the actions of pencil pushing government ideologues. Defense Manpower Data Center, an organization that tracks U.S. troop deployments, says our largest overseas troop deployments are in South Korea, Germany, and Japan. Total Department of Defense manpower is 1,348,719 on 513 installations in 74 countries worldwide. This number does not include the 41,355 Coast Guard members currently serving. For a nation of over 300 million people with a volunteer military that’s not bad.
But how do we bring those faceless numbers and totals down to a scale that is real and personal? By reaching out to veterans and active duty personnel with a kind word. If we are feeling bludgeoned by the terror attacks, mass shootings, and governmental incompetence, imagine the impression it’s making on those who have or are currently serving our nation.
I’m a fourth generation military veteran, married to a veteran. We have often discussed what we learned on active duty, the impact it had on the trajectory of our lives and how grateful we are to have served. This is a universal feeling amongst veterans who love to discuss service, travels, and adventures. There are many veterans who have returned from multiple wartime deployments who could use a meal and listening ear right now. A phone call or email is welcome too. This is a perfect time to reach out; the more divided a nation is, the more meaningful an overture becomes.
As we wave our flags this weekend, let’s remember what it stands for: freedom. Let’s pray to our Father in heaven for continued blessings. The flag also reminds us that freedom isn’t free and others are abroad and at home standing in the gap to ensure that our liberties remain. The woven threads in our flag represent the connection between all of us as a nation. We are one – political disagreements, warts, and all.
We are a nation of laws and flawed individuals. Government will always fail us. Even so, we are “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” As long as we strive to preserve our union, we can show appreciation to those that “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic.”
God’s word speaks to unity among the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Amen to that.
Hooah and Happy Veterans Day!