By Huey P. O’Neal
WEST MONROE (LBM) – On Veterans Day, Americans honor all U.S. veterans, both living and dead, for their sacrifices in protecting the greatest country in the world.
At exactly 11 a.m., each November 11th, a color guard, made up of members from each of the military branches, renders honors to America’s war dead during a heart-moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
The president or his representative places a wreath at the Tomb and a bugler sounds Taps. The balance of the ceremony, including a “Parade of Flags” by numerous military veterans’ organizations, takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the Tomb.
The bloodshed and sacrifice for our freedom began in 1776 when representatives of the 13 original colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to obtain freedom from the British. Many of the 56 signers — educated men, and a good number having faith in God – were willing to sacrifice everything for our freedom to worship God and to achieve God-given goals.
In the context of this legacy of sacrifice, American veterans have met major challenges for the past 241 years to protect our freedoms.
Notably, the U.S. Constitution is based on biblical principles, and every veteran has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution at all costs.
With God’s providence, our veterans have saved not only the United States from tyranny, but also the whole world – evidence of God’s favor on the people of the United States, I believe, because of our majority faith in Him. Indeed, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, now deceased, once told some Louisiana high school students that God has been good to the United States precisely because we have honored God.
I concur with him — to be a great country, we must recognize God in our daily lives, our governmental functions and in our churches on Sundays.
Veterans and their families should be honored for their sacrifices, even bloodshed, to preserve our freedoms and to ensure the security of our land, with God’s hand, of course.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
People of faith should actively serve God, and continue to honor our veterans who guard, or have guarded, us from enemies around the world.
Freedom has cost a lot over the years and will continue to cost us, in terms of service and even lost lives, in the future, but our freedoms are worth it.
We will face continued challenges by evil forces and, as in the past, our veterans’ vigilance will pay the price of freedom.
This Veterans Day, thank a veteran, and, thank God.
Huey P. O’Neal is a member of Fair Park Baptist Church in West Monroe. He served 20 years as a fighter pilot and engineer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring from military service in 1970.