FORT BENNING (BP) — On 11 November 1918 at 11 a.m. the Armistice took effect to end the “War to End All Wars.”
A day of great celebration and rejoicing, it was reported that chaplains celebrated in “sermon and in song.” A WWI chaplain exclaimed, “I am proud of my country as never before, I rejoice with those who rejoice, a new age starts with a freer purer epoch.”
Veterans Day, or Armistice Day as it is known in Europe, has always been an important holiday. As a U.S. Army chaplain, it holds greater meaning having served overseas and in combat. I can relate to the words of this WWI chaplain who rejoiced with those who rejoice. I am sure he also wept with those who wept and even in the great tragedy of war saw the opportunity for a freer and purer age.
This year Veterans Day takes on special meaning because it marks the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI. Veterans Day reminds us that men and women who served and serve in our military secured the freedoms we enjoy. Their sacrifices give us the opportunity to enjoy liberty, which stands as a beacon of light to other nations. I first discovered this while stationed overseas and people who lived through the horrors of war thanked me for the soldiers who came before me to free them from oppression.
Our Southern Baptist chaplains serve our soldiers and show the light of Christ to them in the far reaches of our world. Today we continue to have veterans who have chosen to give of themselves to secure freedom and liberty for our nation. We owe a great debt of gratitude to these men and women for their faithful service to our nation.
Alongside these men and women stands another person — the United States military chaplain. They sacrifice to ensure that these brave Americans have the freedom to practice their faith no matter where they are stationed or deployed. Military chaplains have a faithful history of ministering to soldiers across the globe. During WWI and every conflict our nation has been in, chaplains were on the battlefield faithfully ministering to soldiers in their time of greatest need.
Southern Baptist chaplains stand as salt and light to soldiers and their families in our military. They show them the love of Christ ministering to them across the globe. This Veterans Day gives us opportunity to remember their service and sacrifice as they faithfully serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and faithfully proclaim the gospel.
In remembering the service of those who went before us, we honor the veterans of our military and their stewardship of our liberty in leaving us a legacy before handing it off to the next generation. Ephesians 2:20 reminds me that those who have gone before us “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” Those veterans and chaplains continue to challenge us all today not to build something new of our own, but to be worthy of what was built by others.
My prayer is you will thank a veteran this Veterans Day and remember those who faithfully served and gave for our freedoms and continue to build on the foundation left for us.
Chaplain (COL) Robert Hart is a United States Army Command Chaplain at Fort Benning, Ga.