Armistice Day came into being after World War I as a day to honor the sacrifices of those
who fought and died in “the war to end all wars.”
It became a national holiday in 1938,
and underwent a name change in 1954 to become “Veterans Day”
as the day to remember and honor military personnel from all wars.
Sometimes we celebrate the day in the midst of ongoing wars…
around the world,
within our own smaller worlds,
within our own individual conflicts about war in general
and certain wars in particular.
But, celebrating Veterans Day is about more than just separating the “hawks” from the “doves,”
drawing lines in the sand in political battles;
labeling and demonizing to make clear who “we” are and who “they” are.
Veterans Day is about more than political majorities and budget battles,
defense cuts and territorial protection.
Veterans Day honors the commitment, courage, and sense of communal responsibility
of those who stand up for others,
seek to free the oppressed,
bring light into darkness,
strengthen the fainthearted.
Veterans Day gives all of us who have been served
a chance to recognize and give thanks to and for those who have served.
Thankful for their courage and strength,
their faithfulness and sacrifice,
we enjoy the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Following their example, may we demonstrate, practice and exhibit the peace of Christ
in all our commitments in life and all our labors of love.
As a recent Sunday School lesson pointed out:
It is not those at peace who are blessed, but those who make peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
But, looking back to the day’s original name, “armistice” is defined as:
“an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.”
So as we honor veterans of war experiences,
we are also honoring them as those who bring a stop to fighting, and
construct a truce between opponents,
a respite from turmoil.
Isn’t that what Christ meant by “peacemakers”?
May we all be veterans as makers of Christ’s peace
even if we haven’t been veterans in times of war.