On this Veteran’s Day weekend we pause to thank the veterans of our armed services for their sacrifices made for their country. We remember the families of veterans who serve in their own way as they support their loved one in the service. We also need to give thanks for countless people who gave their lives in defense of freedom. Be sure to thank those veterans that you know and meet on the street.
Veteran’s Day was originally known as “Armistice Day” and was established as a day to remember the end of World War I (November 11, 1918). It was changed to “Veteran’s Day” in 1954 and was broadened to remember all those who served their country in all conflicts. The word “Armistice” means “a temporary cessation of fighting by mutual agreement or a truce.” (“The Free Dictionary” by Farlex) The word literally means “arms stand still.” I am struck by the “temporary cessation” part. War seems to be inevitable on this earth. At the end of WW I people thought that was the war to end all wars. Sadly that was not true. Wars rage on the earth constantly on almost every continent. For arms to “stand still” takes an act of agreement that in my opinion is harder to come by than by military means.
United Methodists believe that war is “incompatible with the teachings and example of Jesus” (Social Principles, Paragraph 165.C) and as followers of Christ we are called to the work of “armistice” that is, putting down arms through the difficult work of peace-making. The Social Principles “insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.”
So on this day we honor those who strove to do this as they served in our military forces and we also need to observe this day by personally making a commitment to the work of peace-making in this world. As the song goes “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”