Subject: Honoring America’s Military Part 3 – Our World War I Veterans
Deuteronomy 2:25 “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.”
Frank Woodruff Buckles died at age 110 on February 27, 2011. A United States Army soldier, he was the last surviving American veteran of World War I, which began in June 1914 and ended 4 years later in November 1918. Over 4.7 million US soldiers enlisted and over 116,000 died.
Known as ‘The Great War’, and ‘The war to end all wars’, from this conflict the United States emerged as the world’s first global superpower. Since that war, America has been the envy of the world, and the one true exceptional nation. But we are losing our global presence under the current administration, as our mighty military is stripped of its resources and we fail to confront the spread of evil around us.
In his January 2014 Wall Street Journal article “How the US helped win World War I”, Dr. Nick Lloyd explained in it was the courage and resolve of our military that put the fear of God into the Germans and ultimately led to their surrender: “World War I marked a hinge in modern history: the moment the U.S. emerged as a global power and changed the meaning and direction of the 20th century.
When Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II was warned that unrestricted submarine warfare—and the losses it would inflict on the U.S. merchant fleet—might provoke U.S. belligerence, he scribbled in a memo, “I do not care.” Even if the Americans did declare war on Germany, he blustered, they were just a bunch of cowboys with an army barely worthy of the name. What use would these weaklings be against Germany’s legions?
But the War Department began creating a new army from scratch to take on the Germans. Germany had underestimated not only America’s material superiority but also its courage and determination to win. By August 1918, the U.S. First Army had been created—some 500,000 men strong. German observers were stunned. German commander Rupprecht of Bavaria, lamented, ‘The Americans are multiplying in a way we never dreamt of.’
U.S. troops sustained heavy casualties in the opening days, but German commanders looked on with horror: The Americans, they realized, would only grow stronger over the coming months. On October 3, 1918, the newly appointed German chancellor, Max von Baden, telegraphed President Woodrow Wilson to ask for an armistice and peace talks. For the German Empire, it would be the beginning of the end.
Today, as America’s global burden seems to be getting heavier, we should not forget the lesson of the Great War. Both world wars remind us how devastating the lack of U.S. global leadership can be. In 2014, the American role in the world may be even more vital than it was a century ago.”
Just as in our verse this week, where God used the nation of Israel as His weapon against the tyrannical nations surrounding them, we as a nation emerged from World War I as a superpower founded under the grace of the same God who puts fear in the hearts of those around the world bent on destroying others.
How does God raise up a nation for His own? With the Israelites, He first gave them two gifts that we as Americans cherish more than anything else: freedom and a creed to live by – the Ten Commandments. God freed Israel from the cruel bondage of the Egyptians and made them a nation that other nations feared because they knew their God was with them. And the Unites States lives by these same principles.
As the English writer G. K. Chesterton once said, “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.” That creed is the Declaration of Independence, where the American colonies proclaimed their freedom from Great Britain by God’s law. It is a universal and permanent standard. And its truths are not unique to America but apply to all men and women everywhere. And they still apply today.
But can the United States maintain its global presence as the Defender of freedom and human rights if our government strips away its military power? The answer is obvious. As our former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong.”
May our God and Savior Jesus Christ convict the hearts of our leaders in Washington to remember the reason we went to war in World War I and why we must maintain a strong military presence around the globe – because freedom is a God-given right to all men and women, everywhere.