"Who goes there, in the night, across the storm-swept plain?
We are the ghosts of a valiant war, a million murdered men.
Who goes there, at the dawn, across the sun-swept plain?
We are the hosts of those who swear, it shall not be again!" -- Thomas Curtis Clark
Veterans of valiant wars long past will remember and will be remembered as we observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11.
The 20th Century opened with war. World War I began in 1914 and ended in 1918 with the signing of an armistice, an agreement, that would end hostilities. On Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation setting Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. The nation celebrated. Veterans joined in parades. People honored the U.S. flag. Churches held special services remembering those who had served their country. At 11 a.m., the time that the armistice was signed, all business, every activity, and all traffic stopped for two minutes as everyone paid tribute to those who had died in the War. The President placed a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In 1918, Armistice Day became a national holiday. On Nov. 11, 1953, in Emporia, Kan., a movement began to honor the dead of all American wars. Armistice Day became Veteran's Day in 1954, signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower.
War is a curse caused by sinful people worldwide. Jesus reminds us that we will "...hear of wars and rumors of wars" until time ends. As long as we humans allow pride, fear, hatred, greed and the desire to lord it over others to control our lives, we will have wars in this world. G.L. Dickinson writes, "War is not inevitable, but proceeds from definite and removable causes." It was General William Sherman who said, "War is cruel" and "War is hell!"
Now we are in the 21st Century, and we are still plagued by wars and rumors of war. We have succumbed to our sinful passions; the result is war within ourselves, and war throughout the world.
Perhaps as we pause on this Veteran's Day, we would do well to remember, and reflect:
1) War destroys. War is the enemy of life.
2) War solves nothing. War only strengthens the walls that divide us from each other.
3). People we have known have died in war; we dare not forget their sacrifice.
4). Veterans of past wars still live and serve among us; let's express our gratitude to each of them.
5). Sometimes a nation must fight in order to preserve its freedom; as Thomas Paine wrote in 1777, "We fight not to enslave, but to set free, to make room upon this earth for honest men to live in."
6) Life is precious, too valuable to waste in a war.
7). Life is sacred. God has promised us that there will come a day when all war and strife shall cease, and all peoples shall live together in peace.
Let us pray, and work, for that holy promise to become a reality in our lifetime!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 11/08/2018
Print Headline: Wars and Rumors