“Permit me, then, to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a declaration of independence; and call upon the world, and the great God who governs it, to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof…Let us, therefore, act like men inspired with a resolution that nothing but the frowns of Heaven shall conquer us.”
General Nathaniel Greene, who was one of General George Washington’s most trusted generals of the Revolutionary War, wrote those words on January 4, 1776, to his Rhode Island representative to the Continental Congress, Samuel Ward.
Those words so aptly describe the American Veteran. Whether we look upon the battlefields of Yorktown, Gettysburg, Havana Harbor, Verdun, the Ardennes Forest, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Kuwait City, Mogadishu, or the streets of Ramadi, our great American fighting men and women have been, “with sincerity of heart…inspired with a resolution,” to serve and die for our great nation and the cause of freedom. Veteran’s Day was originally known as Armistice Day and it was on November 11, 1918 that World War I ended. Upon signing the proclamation, President Woodrow Wilson ended with these words:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.”
Veteran’s Day has always been special to me, not only as a veteran, but also as an American who is grateful for the ultimate sacrifice made by all our veterans, living or deceased, fallen on the battlefield or returning home to an either grateful or presumptuous nation. This Veteran’s Day is uniquely special to me because my late and great son Sergeant Eddie Jeffers gave his life in defense of his country just 54 days ago. Eddie believed in his cause and willingly gave his life for it; so have hundreds of thousands before him.
One question comes to mind on this Veteran’s Day, to me personally as both a Gold Star Dad and an American: “Am I worthy of this sacrifice?” As a Christian I know that I’m not worthy of the blood of Jesus Christ; it is a gift from God. But as an American, am I worthy of the sacrifice of our great veterans? Do I have an overwhelming love and gratitude for such a blessed nation as the United States of America? I pray so; I pray that when I meet my Jesus He will tell me, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.” I also pray that when I see Eddie and the rest of the great Christian soldiers who have gone before me, that they will also say, “well done thy good and faithful American.”
Being an American is a wonderful privilege and blessing; the great majority of inhabitants on earth want to be Americans. We are a model and a magnet for those who desire freedom; freedom to worship the god of their choice, to prosper, to live a life without fear of retribution for exercising such freedom. This blessed nation did not just come into to existence or evolve out of nothing. It was founded and is being sustained by the shed blood of truly Great Americans. That term Great American is severely overused today and has lost some of its luster, but to our wonderful vets, it completely describes them.
It seems only fitting that “one nation under God,” founded by Christians for the purpose of religious freedom and of life, liberty, and the pursuit happiness, that shed blood would be required. It is what Jesus did for our salvation, and it is what we have done and will continue to do to maintain our freedom.
My prayer for all of you is two-fold:
1. That you have accepted the wonderful, precious gift of salvation that is provided in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
2. That you will honor, cherish, and fulfill your civic duty of an American; doing so with great delight and assuming the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being an American.
I leave you with one quote and wish everyone a reflective and blessed Veteran’s Day. This quote is from John Quincy Adams and is a good reminder of what is required of every American citizen:
“Posterity—you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”