The Magnificent Armor of Courage

Stuck in the middle of this busy month is a day of great significance. Millions of folks are heading to the polls to vote on November 8th, ordering turkeys before the 24th, and watching football and Hallmark Christmas movies throughout the month’s 30 days. We also are inundated with news of conflict, violence, and challenging economic times. Yet, look at the calendar again because, on Friday, November 11th, you will find a sense of thankfulness and peace amid our shared chaos because it is Veterans Day.

I am blessed in my life to know many veterans. Most of these fantastic folks remain extraordinarily committed to defending our democracy and constitution.   They are our priceless saviors who deserve to be honored with more than a day stuck in the middle of a chaotic month on a calendar.

Veterans’ hospitals should be lined with gold instead of many needing repairs or better staffing. Homes for wounded warriors should be mansions, and their physical and mental care be met indefinitely. After all, wasn’t it the soldier who allowed us to remain in our homes and keep us safe from war’s wounds?

Thankfulness & courage

One of the problems we have in our country is a lack of thankfulness for the fearless and selfless men and women who serve to protect us from harm. They guard not only the misguiding politician, the thief, the self-righteous, and the bully but the exceptional leader, the kind, the meek, and the generous among us. Once they don a military uniform, they collectively join an elite group of warriors willing to give their lives to maintain America’s precious liberties.

Perhaps, every person elected to sit in the White House Oval Office as President of the United States should also hold the honorable title of “Veteran.” To date, only 15 of our elected leaders were not veterans. Of course, our first hero was General George Washington, but what about Colonel Teddy Roosevelt? President Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor, and when WWI erupted, his desire was to return to service as an ex-president. However, President Wilson would not allow him to do so.  

Lieutenant John Kennedy won the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for courage and a Purple Heart, while 19-year-old Lieutenant JG George H.W. Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. These are just a few of the brave and distinguished alumni of America’s highest office who served our country in more ways than one.

One common denominator defines the 31 Presidents who once wore a military uniform… courage.

Developing heroes

When we elect brave, honorable leaders, who exemplify the basis of our country’s existence, we help ensure our fate.

Today, we are a divided and torn nation. But when our soldiers are in a ditch fighting an enemy, they become one.   Politics, religion, and race are set aside, and all that remains is the shared determination to ensure their homeland’s survival.

When I view young people carrying guns and shooting folks without a thought or care. I see kids who have lost hope in America and possess no ambition or dreams. If they are caught, they go to jail, where they live imprisoned for years. What if they joined the military after high school and learned discipline, respect, and honor? Would not our lives and theirs be spared of violence?   All many youths need is hope to become of worth to themselves and society.

An oft-repeated Bible verse epitomizes a soldier’s badge of honor. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.   Heroes are born from a warrior’s soul. 

For me

After giving a speech to a Vietnam Veterans group two years ago, these magnificent men and women applauded my words, and tears welled in my eyes.   They are the ones who should be honored with a standing ovation because they maintained my freedom to speak. I knew I was among veteran warriors with more honor and courage than I could ever muster or imagine.

At the end of the evening, I received a golden coin in appreciation. The medallion from these proud patriots depicts a soldier carrying a shield emblazoned with a red cross. Around the edge of this beauty are the words, “Put on the whole armor of God.” Ephesians: 6:13.

The veterans who served to preserve our democracy should never be lost in the middle of a busy calendar but remain in our hearts each day. I thank them for their ability, love of country, and for obeying God by wearing their magnificent armor of courage for me.

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” Winston Churchill