Today, men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces will be honored for their bravery and loyalty to our country. Veterans' sacrifice on behalf of others is worthy of praise, and paints a beautiful picture of the One Who gave His life to redeem His people.
The origin of Veterans Day stems back to November 11, 1918, which marked the end of World War I. Countries around the world who had participated in the war placed unknown soldiers in prominent burial sites in honor of their service. Hoping for lasting peace, the U.S. made Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938. Soon thereafter, however, World War II - which had the most war casualties in history - prompted Congress to change the holiday to National Veterans Day in 1954.
Three unidentified soldiers from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War were buried in Arlington National Cemetery in what is called the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier." A guard from the United States Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment keeps watch over the tomb both day and night, commemorating all soldiers who died while serving our country. The inscription on the tomb reads, "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."
President Barack Obama laid a wreath on the tomb and gave an address in the Arlington National Cemetery this morning. He honored veterans who "have rendered the highest service any American can offer our nation. Those who have fought for freedom ... a debt we can never fully repay." The President paid special tribute to World War II veteran Robert Overton, the oldest-living veteran in the United States. He also applauded veterans' health and educational benefits, which have been earned through faithful service to our country. "As a nation, we will strive to be worthy of the sacrifices that you've made," Obama said - "That's what we owe all our veterans."
The National Day of Prayer Task Force encourages Christians to diligently pray for those in active duty and their families. "We pause and remember the many who made the ultimate sacrifice ... These are America's heroes," their website reads - "May we never forget their perseverance and vigilance. May we never forget their sacrifice."
The Village Church in Dallas, Texas also reminds Christians to honor those who have served our country - "It is because of your sacrifice, and the sacrifice of others, that we have freedom, specifically the freedom to worship the Lord openly and safely."
This Veterans Day, Christians are encouraged to reflect on the One Who paid the ultimate sacrifice - even death upon a cross - in order to rescue sinners from condemnation. The Village reminds us that our nation's freedom is "a beautiful and powerful picture of the greater freedom that can be found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ."
In the greatest battle that was ever fought, the Son of God became man, served His Father with perfect, joyful obedience, and then died in the place of those He loved so that we could be forgiven.
"For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (English Standard Version, 2 Corinthians 5:21).