We honor veterans, saints

| November 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Col.) Peter Mueller
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii


Sometimes when we hear the word “veteran,” we picture a guy on the side of the road with a sign declaring his homelessness and financial need.

While we certainly want to help every veteran who, for whatever reason, is struggling in life, it is vital to remember hundreds of thousands of veterans who are returning from serving their country downrange.

Now they return to communities to serve, lead, build, raise families and make a real difference because of the values they have learned through discipline, hardship and camaraderie.

Our veterans have been there and done that, through thick and thin, good and bad, life and death. They are the backbone of our communities and the strength of America.

Our nation sets aside November 11th to honor and remember the contributions of our veterans. Truth be told, they deserve our gratitude every day. Yet, most veterans don’t seek recognition, the limelight or make a big deal of their service. That’s because their time of service was just that – service, selflessly given.

They are the true heroes we too often neglect to show our kids, but instead promote athletes and comic book characters. We would do well to learn from our veterans and listen to their experiences, finding our strength by using the same means they employed to survive and thrive through challenges and pain.

We – who form our worldview and lives around our faith in God – also have our veterans, our heroes, who have gone before us, showing us through their very lives just how God transforms a believing heart.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that just 10 days before every Veterans Day, many people of God celebrate All Saints Day. Sometimes we hear “saint,” and we think of a man or woman canonized by the church for doing extraordinary things seemingly beyond our reach. Yet, for every such recognized saint, hundreds of thousands of saints are ordinary people like you and me who struggle, fall, get up and keep going by trusting God.

Saints are men and women we know and love: grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, pastors and teachers … millions who have been there and done that, through thick and thin, good and bad, life and death.

They are the backbone of faith communities and the strength of our assemblies. They, too, don’t seek reward, the limelight or anyone making a big deal of their service. They serve in love and faith.

We would do well to learn from them, listening to their experience to find our strength through their struggles, our comfort through their affliction, our hope through their challenges and pain. They know the way; they have walked with God even through the valley of the shadow of death, and they fear no evil.

It is not simply curiosity about the lives of others that we should bring to the remembrance of our veterans and the saints who have gone before us. They can be a source of inspiration, learning, comfort and hope – if we are humble enough to learn from them and have a willingness to pattern our lives after theirs.

Find a veteran in your family or community, and after you tell them thanks, listen to their story and learn their values and perspective on life, family and country. Then, find a veteran of faith in your community or chapel, and take time to listen to them, hearing their story of grace, forgiveness, faith and hope.

Doing so will honor their service and empower us to be the next example of veterans and saints for generations yet to come.

(Editor’s Note: Mueller is the command chaplain for USAG-HI.)

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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