November 11th is known as Veteran’s Day. It is a day in which we remember all those men and women who have served in the armed forces in our country. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice. How will you observe Veteran’s Day this year? I received an email from a friend that told me an interesting story about the people in the City of Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. Every five years they have a “Liberation Celebration” to honor the liberation of Pilsen by General George Patton’s 3rd Army in World War II.
Every year since 1945 there is a memorial service in the woods near Pilsen at the location of a crash site where an American war plane was shot down by enemy fire. For 65 straight years a woman named Zdenka Sladkova has cared for this memorial. She was 14 years old at the time of the crash and she was so moved by this soldier’s tragic death (he was only 20 years old) that she made a vow to care for his memory. She is now 79 years old.
The people of Pilsen also have established a “General Patton Scholarship Fund” and they award money to a graduating senior each year who will either be entering the military or another form of community service. By awarding this scholarship they are lifting up the value of giving one’s life for a cause that is “greater than self.”
These incredible honors given by the people of the Czech Republic are touching indeed, given the fact that this is not even their country they are lavishing with such accolades. They have parades and ceremonies and military citations during these celebrations. The people of Pilsen know how to say “thank you” for the service rendered on behalf of their country. May we do the same! Say “thank you” to a soldier that you meet. Help out the families of veterans that may be challenged with loved ones far from home. Participate in services of honor and thanksgiving for those who gave their lives. Let us all dedicate ourselves to live for a cause greater than ourselves….that of service to God and to others. Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)