By Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Written songs have conveyed the heartfelt words that many Americans feel towards our Veterans and our country, that we sometimes find difficult to express.
Lee Greenwood’s beloved song, “God Bless the USA,” is often played at many military functions.
I know when I have had it played or sung at the Annual Veterans and Active Military HONOR Dinner, it doesn’t take but moments before every person present is standing. Some with military attention, while other family members stand with tears streaming down their cheeks.
“If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life, and I had to start again with just my children and my wife. I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today, ’cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away, And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, ’cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God Bless the U.S.A.!”
This year, as last, I have been unable to host the Annual dinner and it saddens my heart, as it is one event that blesses me beyond measure.
Our men and women who have served are precious to my heart, as I covet my freedom which they have secured for me and for you.
To me, other than my salvation through my Lord Jesus Christ, my freedom is of utmost importance to me. Without it, I would not be able to worship, have fellowship with my family and friends, work and enjoy the nature we as Craig County residents have been truly blessed with.
To our beloved Veterans, to families whose loved ones never came home or did come home with serious injuries or memories that plague them, and to our active military who carry on the American tradition of faithfully serving our country, I say, (and most of Craig residents join me), “You are loved, appreciated and honored for giving us your life in serving our country.”
The Bible says in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man this this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Meaning, man or woman.)
Observed annually on November 11, Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday of celebration that honors military Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
On June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later, on October 8, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all Veterans, all Veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
“The Uniformed Services are far, far different now than when I took my oath to serve and defend our Nation against all enemies, friend or foe, to the best of my ability to do so. They still take the oath, and I have no doubt about their sincerity or courage, but the lifestyle conditions are so different now then the ones I learned to love and respect,” shared V.F.W. Post 4491 Chaplin, Kenneth Looney, retired U.S. Navy Retired E –8. “But one great thing that still remains and exists today, is the fact that no matter who you are, or what State or City you came from, what Nationality or race you came from, rich or poor, big or thin, Christian or non-believer, when it comes to performing our duty, we come together as “one.” We may have our own issues or battles to fight or resolve, but know this, if you come against one of our Comrades, then you come against us all. When you make a friend in the Military then you have a friend for Life. We have your back my fellow Veteran for evermore.”
Looney added that this is one of his fondest memories, those of friends, that he served with over 30 years ago, and is still friends with today.
“I pridefully served Our Homeland and would do it again without a second thought,” he exclaimed. “To all of my Comrades who served in any battle, anywhere, at any time, I proudly stand and render you, a well and much earned ‘Hand Salute,’ in honor and appreciation of your time spent serving our great Nation, along with a bold and loud, ‘Thank You Sir’, or ‘Thank You Ma’am’, for your service. I feel honored to do this to show a little appreciation for their Patriotism and duty.”
Looney added, “I Thank You Lord for your loving protection over me and my shipmates during our Service to God and Country and pray for Your protection and blessings over them and their families even now, and especially bless the families, whose loved one didn’t make it home. We Love the U.S.A. God Bless America, and to God, be the Glory.”
Craig County has a long-lived history of honoring their men and women who served their country, with open arms when returning and annually with dinners and thanksgiving celebrations, honoring their faithful commitment and service.
This year is no different, as we, Craig County residents say, “thank you and may God Bless you abundantly. It is because of you that we can sing our National Anthem, ‘Oh, say does that Star-Spangled banner wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!’”
A poem, Thoughts on the Battlefield, by Patsy Greenway written in honor of our Veterans:
Thoughts on the Battlefield
Out in the battle a soldier does roam
As the enemy nears, he thinks about home,
Cold, hungry tired and alone, but
What he really wants is a letter from home
A letter that says someone loves you and cares
A letter that says someone is praying for you there
A letter that says you have a hope at the end
Of seeing your precious loved ones again
Thoughts of a soldier bearing the cross
Can sometimes seem all hope is lost
But then he reads the letter from home
Written by the Spirit, sent from the throne
For the Christian, the Bible is a letter from home
While on this spiritual battlefield we do roam
It gives us hope of a time when we see loved ones again
And the King of all glory will wipe away all sin
What a glorious day that will be, around His throne
When all God’s children are safe at home
And there pen and paper will be no more
For we will never say good-bye on that beautiful shore
GOD BLESS OUR VETERANS
By: Patsy Greenway