Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

It is said of the woman in the Gospel today she "has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood." Today in the US we also celebrate Veterans Day.
We remember those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "gave the last full measure of devotion." But as a Christian I take a slightly different view of those who died and hope in the words from the book of Wisdom "They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace."
Of the more than 2 million deployed just in Iraq Afghanistan, so many are not at peace. They lost more than their earthly life, they lost their personality, their identity. How often do I hear parents or spouses say, "He's not the same person."
Some of it is psychological but this time there is also a great deal that is medical. We hear terms like IED(Improvised Explosive Device) and we think of those who lost an arm or a leg, but many more suffered some form of injury to the brain. The symptoms may manifest immediately or not. It may be years before we even understand fully the effects.
The very nature of warfare has changed radically since the armies on the battlefields of World War II. And the toll taken on the body and the mind are different.
The sacrifices of today's vets seem all the more like the widow, when we keep in mind that, unlike my father who was drafted, these men and women all volunteered.
Today we honor and pray for these men and women. But what will we do for them tomorrow?