Yesterday a friend commented that the war in Ukraine that threatens the security of the region is between countries that practice the same Orthodox faith between their peoples. The same mass, the same language used in homilies, the same crucifix behind the altar.
Does it come down to who prays the most fervent prayers? Which side “really” defends the greatest good and should receive the blessing of God for what they stand for?
Especially on days that celebrate our brave fallen, we should recall the reasons why our forefathers, fathers, brothers and sisters marched unfailingly into the breach of threat for life. Was it because we are always the most righteous country? Or, was it because they loved their own people and saw a looming threat to the safety of the home?
Here’s a challenge. Try to imagine intentionally walking into harm's way in order to safeguard some sacramental reality like, freedom, peace, the pursuit of happiness ... and NOT see someone’s face in your mind.
Veterans Day is about the response that our defenders made to a call from our common community that they were afraid something might rob us of our safety. When our soldiers do scary things, it isn’t because they are looking for a thrill. It’s because they carry the burden of the call of the people to stand between us and annihilation.
The burden of the community that sends its strong, fine defenders into battle is to be worth fighting for. We celebrate our veterans because they didn’t question our value when they answered the call.
Thank a veteran for what standing in our defense says to us ... about us! It says that we are worth a great personal sacrifice on their part. Let’s agree to honor them today by trying really hard to earn the value of that gift and to be a people worth protecting.