Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Almost 100 years ago today, on November 11, 1918, a treaty was signed that ended what was then called “the war to end all wars” – World War I. A year after that day, Americans came together on what was known as Armistice Day, to honor not only the 116,000 American soldiers who died but also the 4.7 million soldiers who served. It was from this war that America emerged the global superpower it is today.
Congress declared Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938. By this time, with unrest in much of the world, Americans realized World War I would not be the last war. So in 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, because after World War II we knew that defending freedom would be a full-time job of our great military. So this new holiday, Veterans Day, celebrates veterans of all United States wars.
We only have to look around the world to see the gross violation of basic human rights. Without a military to defend freedom, people are defenseless against either totalitarian regimes (like North Korea) or invading armies (like Russia). How could anyone justify government laws in China that, by limiting family size, forcing pregnant women to abort unborn babies? Or beating women in many Middle Eastern countries for being in public without a male escort? Or the torture and murder of those refusing to deny faith in Jesus Christ? Or censoring anyone who practices free-market capitalism? That last one sounds ominous.
In his October 2011 article ‘In Praise of the Capitalist 1 Percent’, Pepperdine University Professor of Economics George Reisman challenges those protestors in America today who claim that the enemy we need to defeat is the 1 percent of the population who owns all the wealth and lives at the expense of the remaining 99 percent. But the exact opposite is the case: it’s the wealth of that 1 percent that provides the standard of living of the 99 percent! That’s because we live in a country where individual freedoms and the pursuit of economic prosperity are protected from any foreign attempt to destroy them by our military. American citizens have the right to pursue their dreams without fear of imprisonment or censorship.
In fact, he says “100 percent of us benefit from the wealth of the hated capitalists. The protesters are literally kept alive on the foundation of the wealth of the capitalists they hate. The oil fields and pipelines of Exxon provide the fuel that powers the tractors and trucks that produce and deliver the food the protesters eat. The protesters and all other haters of capitalists hate the foundations of their own existence.”
Listen to Dr. Reisman’s argument for why Americans today need to do less protesting and more reflection on what our free society has provided for them: “Today, the average worker works 40 hours per week, while a worker of a century or so ago worked 60 hours a week. For the 40 hours he works, the average worker of today receives the goods and services which include such things as an automobile, refrigerator, air conditioner, central heating, more and better living space, more and better food and clothing, modern medicine and dentistry, motion pictures, a computer, cell phone, television set, washer-dryer, microwave oven, and so on. The average worker of 1911 either did not have these things at all or had much less of them and of poorer quality.” Where did these innumerable blessings that Americans enjoy come from?
In his poem ‘It Is the Soldier’, Charles M. Province (U.S. Army) gives us the answer: “It is the Soldier, not the minister who has given us freedom of religion. It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press. It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech. It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to protest. It is the Soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right t o a fair trial. It is the Soldier, not the politician who has given us the right to vote. It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
Our verse this week is a reminder that when we think on our military, we should always thank God for them. It is also the message contained in the last part of the Military Oath of Enlistment. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Keskel, Director of Manpower and Organization for Air Combat Command at Langley AFB in Virginia, explains the deep significance of the phrase ‘So Help Me God’: “This final phrase is the most important one in the oath. Officers must embrace the moral foundation symbolized in the phrase ‘So help me God’ since it is the heart and soul of the success of future generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.” Our military acknowledges that their success depends on their reliance on the God of the Bible.
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, after thanking God for them, ask God to be their shield and protector.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #269