A Brief History of Veterans Day
Historian and author William J. Federer’s writing featured in Miracles in American History: Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer by Susie Federer, states, “President Woodrow Wilson said in his 6th Annual Address, December 2, 1918: ‘What we all thank God for with deepest gratitude is that our men went in force into the line of battle just at the critical moment when the whole fate of the world seemed to hang in the balance.’”
As President Wilson stated, timing is critical in battles. Deuteronomy 20:4 describes how the “Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
In 1938 Congress passed a law making November 11 a legal holiday and in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially changing its name to Veterans Day.
Reaching Out to Veterans
Like many families, members in ours have served in various branches of the United States military. My husband Philip served in the Air Force. His father Richard served in the Army during World War II. Our family has also had a number of uncles, cousins, and in-laws who also served in various branches of the military.
My husband’s military background helps him as a hospice chaplain in visiting and ministering to veterans. Through his knowledge and experience, I’ve gained some wisdom and insight into meaningful ways to honor veterans on Veterans Day.
Below are 10 ways to honor a veteran this Veterans Day:
1. Lend An Ear
My husband spends hours talking with veterans and has found that often what means the most to many of them is just spending time with them listening to their stories, taking a real interest in their military experiences, and reassuring them their service was honorable.
Consider how for many individuals, entering the military and wartime was an unexpected pathway, one not of their choosing. Like Scripture explains, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Let them know even so, the Lord was with them as described in Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As well, be willing to pray with veterans who may struggle with their participation in combat, assuring them of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. Especially for those who served during wartime, remind them how the Bible explains there are times for war (Ecclesiastes 3:8), and how Romans 8:1 assures Christians, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.