A DAY WITH THE ROA NATIONAL CHAPLAIN’S THOUGHTS
THE WAR TO END ALL WARS
A Spiritual Fitness message from the ROA National Chaplain
Veterans Day 2017
Celebrating special events and days are part of American life. It is good that we mark those days not only in our history but for our future. It seems to me, there is a necessary connection between our history and knowing just who we are in the present to confidently face our future with more wisdom and fortitude.
In the “war events of history” one characteristic toward the destruction of the identity of a person has been for the “conquering” group to attempt to erase the past of a “conquered” people. The implications of that subject are for another time. This year America has been marking the one-hundred-year anniversary of the end of World War I. It was also known as the Great War and The War to End All Wars.
I can still hear my mother and father speaking of that historical moment when the world focused on the day when peace returned to the world. The fight had been long, hard, costly (in lives) and with the signing event, war would end. The hope was that organizations could be formed to aid in peaceful resolutions to the greed, selfishness, desire for control and violence of mankind. The world would change, peace for all, festivities and freedom would abound.
It happened on the 11th day, 11th month, the 11th hour. Church bells rang, radios blasted joyful music, ticker tape parades marched, horns blasted loudly and people laughed and filled churches. My mother reminded me that my great-grandfather died that day as a casualty of an epidemic of flu which swept our Nation. Later, after peace did not reign, that day was changed to Veterans Day to include all serving in America’s military.
I receive my hometown newspaper even though I have not lived there for many years. It is reflective of where I was born, trained and educated. There is a column in that newspaper of the news of 1917. Each week this year I have attempted to read that column.
It is a country town, small where nearly everyone there knows everyone else. To read that column today is a reminder to me of that local community’s support to WW I. There is hardly a week gone by but what I read of a particular traditional value, principle, code of conduct or act of support for the efforts to win in that war. Space would not allow me to even begin to highlight those reminders for this Spiritual Fitness column.
One thing that I could see was those values were reflected in my life giving me strength and standards held in my adult years today. There seems to have been a passing of values and traditions from that generation to my father’s generation to me. Unity of Service, singleness of purpose, Biblical foundation building blocks, prayer, patriotic actions, memorization of sections of history and literature with deep meaning, the modeling of my teachers and community leaders, skills, talents, resources, even beyond my limitations all gave me an optimism that I could achieve and dream which at the time might appear impossible.
My teachers instilled in me I could do this by getting an education beyond my high school, build a life in serving based upon Biblical principles, giving God permission to influence me from the inside out. Doing so would lead me in service to others and change the world not by protest but by example recognizing that we are people created by God.
We are special and I must get to know them as neighbors, becoming friends with those leading the American dream of a world shaped with principles of a republic and a democracy. The tried, true and traditional values of truth, honesty, morality, fairness, and dignity of life are real and necessary for a strong, respectful and prosperous society.
My teachers and elected governmental officials were expected to be models of what we were taught. Someone said long ago that when war comes, you go to war with what you have. While not all may agree, there is much truth in that statement. The World Wars of I and II are such examples.
History has recorded for us their sacrificial acts of preserving freedom, defeating anarchy and upholding respect for life. Men and women who answered the call to arms, not for the freedom for people to do as they please, but the freedom to do what is morally and ethically right.
Perhaps that is why the victories of WWI gave us the labels “War to end all Wars” and then WWII “The Greatest Generation”. They brought to war with them the ethics and moral principles of their families and communities.
I stand to attention and salute not only the men and women who served in those two wars but all who served and are still serving, in any capacity for the defeat of anarchy and dictatorships around the world. Oh, my, I humbly wonder what values I have passed on to my children and now my grandchildren!!
Grace and Peace,
CH (COL) Sherman R. Reed, USA, (ret)
Army Reserve Ambassador, Emeritus
ROA National Chaplain