Tuesday, October 28, 2008

by Calvin Johnson
October 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 11th is Veterans Day!

"No arsenal, or no weapons in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."---The late President Ronald Reagan

On the 11th day and 11th hour of November, the parade will stop and the bugler will play taps in honor and memory of the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy. Please take a few minutes on the 11th to thank a Veteran. You may also wish to do this in person at the many Veterans Day parades held around this great nation.

As we elect a new American president, let´s remember those who stood for liberty that we may continue to freely exercise our right to vote.

During July 2008, a California newspaper article caught my eye about a World War II Veteran, John Finn, of San Diego . The San Diego News described Finn as not only the first recipient in World War II to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor but, at 99 years old, also the oldest recipient of the military´s highest award. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor , Finn found whatever weapon he could find to fight back despite being wounded 21 times.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day, to me, is about American patriot Patrick Henry who said, "It can not be emphasized too strongly are too often that this great nation was founded not by the religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Can you imagine what people might say today about such a bold statement as this? There was a time when his words were the soul of our nation.

And let us remember that General George Washington led his troops in prayer before they crossed the Delaware River on a cold-snowy night to surprise the British and Hessian troops on December 26, 1776. They gained a great victory in the worst of conditions.

Our children should know of Andrew Jackson and a ragtag army who defeated the British at New Orleans in 1815. A young officer named Wade Hampton of South Carolina rode 750 miles in ten days to Columbia, South Carolina, and then to Washington, D.C. to tell President Madison and the country of the great victory.

We shall never forget that in March, 1836, a small band of men at the Alamo stood between Santa Anna's 5,000 man army and the unprepared small army of Sam Houston. In the lonely monastery were Davy Crocket, Jim Bowie and less than two hundred men. Just three days before Santa Anna's final assault, these men came into the Alamo , knowing they might die.

On their last night on earth the Alamo men prayed that their battle would, somehow, lead to victory even though they might die. Their prayer was answered. A few days later at San Jacinto, Houston defeated Santa Anna with the battle cry of, "Remember the Alamo !"

Let us remember 1861 when our nation became two nations. The South under President Jefferson Davis and the North under President Abraham Lincoln, fought for four long, bloody years to decide our future. Both armies prayed to the same God for guidance. This war has many names but the United States Congress would officially name it "The War Between the States." Since 1865, the Confederate Battle flag has been the blood brother of the Stars and Stripes as Southerners have taken their place at the front in all our nation's wars.

Let us remember that in February of 1898 the American Battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor with nearly 300 dead. The Spanish-American War brought Teddy Roosevelt's "Roughriders" to Cuba to charge up San Juan Hill to victory. Old Joe Wheeler, an ex-Confederate Cavalry General, was there with him. Wheeler got so excited that he forgot which war he was in. He shouted, "There they are, go get those Yankees!"

In Greensboro, North Carolina a six year old girl named Mary Frances Barker awoke to the shouts of a boy far down the street. It was 5 A.M., November 12, 1918. It was the paper boy shouting, "The War is over, the war is over!" World War I had finally ended on the 11th day of the 11th hour of the 11th month of November in 1918.

The United States Congress proclaimed "Armistice Day" a year later on November 11, 1919.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the first word of the attack on Pearl Harbor came by radio. Newspapers did run "extras" that Sunday with little information and a lot of fear. This Sunday would become "a day of infamy." On Monday the 8th President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during a special session of congress, told of the attack and declared war on Japan . His speech was broadcast on the radio.

F.D.R.'s closing words were: "With the abounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God!" Since that time there has been Korea , Vietnam , Grenada , Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq .We can not forget that we were attacked again on September 11, 2001.

We have, since World War II, seen prayer taken out of our schools and "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance under attack. Are we still a nation of God as we once were during the times of our founding fathers and mothers? With all that is happening in the world today, it seems to me that we may need God more then ever.

In 1954, The United States Congress passed Bill HR7786 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

America must remember those who served our nation! To forget is dishonor.

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