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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Pards,
I received this from Steve Hall on this special day and wanted to share it with you.

NOTES FROM THE VALLEY
November 10, 2002

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

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Veterans Day is coming November 11th . I've got some really strong feelings about Veterans. I am one. A lucky one. In the 28 years I served in the United States Navy, I knew many who weren't as lucky as me. Men and women who returned home crippled in their bodies , in their minds, or in both by the horror that is war. And those who gave the full measure of their lives because they believed in something bigger than themselves. People who believed that "one nation under God" was more than just words in the Pledge of Allegiance. People who believed that the God given " right" of all people to be free was as worth defending today as it was when this nation struggled for it's independence. Even if that defense might cost them their lives. And for many, it did.

I've also seen and heard the others. The ones who self-righteously turn their noses up at people who serve in the military, questioning their character and their motivation; belittling them and the sacrifices they've made. I salute the former. I ask God to help me forgive the later.

Yes, I abhor war. No one who has experienced the brutality of it could feel otherwise. But war is a reality. It is a consequence of a sin-filled world. And until Christ comes again and wins the final battle that establishes His millennial reign, there are practitioners of evil, enemies to freedom and to the Body of Christ, who will destroy both if left to their own devices.

The events of September 11th, 2001 and all the terrorist activities since, leave little doubt of their intent to destroy us or their tenacity and dedication in pursuing that end.

So, until Christ does come again, I will surely pray for peace, but in those prayers, I will also give thanks to God for raising up men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us from those enemies.

Tonight, as I kneel in prayer, thousands of men and women will be paying the very heavy price for my right to do so. They are far from home, engaged in a desperate and deadly struggle to bring terrorists to justice and destroy the infrastructure that supports their hideous purposes. They long to be home. Their hearts are filled with a kind of agony most of you will never have to experience. They touch wrinkled photos carried close to their hearts and dream of loved ones far away. They know fear like you cannot imagine unless you've stood face-to-face with a deadly adversary intent upon your destruction. And yet each one of them is there of their own volition. They volunteered!

Why do they do it? I've tried to answer that question many times. Tried to explain to others why people would make such a commitment with their lives. It troubles me that so many can't even begin to understand the motivation behind such a sacrifice. And the truth is, what we don't understand, we fear. That fear has led to the stereotyping of those who serve in the military as being motivated by hate.

My experience was quite the contrary. For 28 years I was privileged to serve with some of the most intelligent, dedicated, and caring people I have ever known. Their motivation for serving was not hate, but love. Love that goes far beyond "self" to a higher calling. Love of freedom. Love of family. Love of friends. And a deeply rooted commitment to securing the benefits of that freedom for all those they love, even at the cost of their lives.

Jesus, who gave up His life to make it possible for all men to be free, said . . . "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:12-13

So tonight, I will thank God for each of them and for all those who now answer that call. And I will ask Him to protect them and to bring them safely home again. Whatever your fears or feelings, will you PLEASE do the same?

I remain a sailor, His servant, and your brother, Sheltered under His wing and overwhelmed by His love,
Steve Hall


THE ORIGIN OF VETERANS DAY

When the end came to World War I, November 11, 1919 was set aside to commemorate the sacrifices made by American soldiers to gain a lasting peace for the world. Called Armistice Day, soldiers who survived the war marched in parades through their home towns. Dignitaries and veterans made speeches and held ceremonies of thanks for the peace that had been won.

Had WWI been the "war to end all wars," we would probably still observe Armistice Day today. After WWII, Armistice Day continued to be observed, but Americans realized that there was a need to recognize those who had made sacrifices in other conflicts.

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, and called upon Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace. He issued a Presidential Order directing the head of the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veterans Affairs, to form a Veterans Day National Committee to organize and oversee the national observance of Veterans Day. November 11 was designated as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.

In 1971 President Nixon declared it a federal holiday on the second Monday in November, but it became apparent that November 11 was too historically significant to bypass, so in 1978 Congress formally returned the observance of Veterans Day to the customary date of November 11.

This Veterans Day, ceremonies and bservances will be held throughout the country--prayer services, rallies, assembly programs, parades, patriotic speeches, and graveside flag displays. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington D.C. where thousands of service personnel are buried, is the focus of the nation's tribute on Veterans Day.

"We must not forget the past. We must not forget those who sacrificed, but we must also remember the reason for their sacrifice. They died so tyranny would die. They died to create a better world for those of us who followed them. Their sacrifice was not in vain."

Secretary of State Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, observing the 50th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1991.

--------------------
John

aka Jack Christian SASS #11993
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
aka w30wcf

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John, Thanks for the post from Steve Hall. I too have spent over 20 yrs in the Navy, and pray for peace now. Have seen what he has seen. I pray for those that served before me, with me, and after me.

John Barrett U.S.Navy Retired

aka: Gun Runner
 

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I spent 7 years in the Marines. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve this great nation that honors God in the pledge. What I have done is nothing compared to the chance to serve our Savior. I pray for our military members every day and thank God for their willingness to serve.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Gunrunner & Bigfoot, thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

To continue (I missed this part in my original post)

REMEMBER
(Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC)

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."


TAPS - THE ORIGIN
(Barbara Mikkelson)

"Taps" was composed in July 1862 at Harrison's Landing in Virginia. If anyone can be said to have omposed "Taps," it was Brig. Gen. Daniel > Butterfield, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, V Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the American Civil War. Dissatisfied with the customary firing of three rifle volleys at the conclusion of burials during battle and also needing a method of ceremonially imparting meaning to the end of a soldier's day, he likely altered an older piece known as "Tattoo," a French bugle call used to signal "lights out," into the call we now know as "Taps."

Whether he wrote it straight from the cuff or improvised something new by rearranging an older work, Butterfield brought 'Taps' into being. With the help of his bugler, Oliver W. Norton of Chicago, the concept was transformed into its present form."Taps" was quickly taken up by both sides of the conflict, and within months was being sounded by buglers in both Union and Confederate forces.

Then as now, "Taps" serves as a vital component in ceremonies honoring military dead. It is also understood by American servicemen as an end-of-day 'lights out' signal. When "Taps" is played at a military
funeral, it is customary to salute if in uniform, or place your hand over your heart if not.

These are the words to "Taps".

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky,
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh."

Sources:
Deall, Tom. "Taps Stirs Hearts Despite
Unsure Origin."
The Times-Picayune. 30 May 1999 (p. F6).
Vogel, Steve. "A Call That Lingers in the
Heart."
The Washington Post. 29 January 1999 (p. B1).

___________________________________________

Copyright © 1998 - 2002 by Stephen J. Hall - Weekly letters of encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. Most of "Notes" and "Humor" are a collection of items provided by subscribers and friends.
If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you'd like to contribute to a future edition, would like to ask a question or make a comment, please contact us at:

[email protected]
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The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then
will I be confident. Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)

Visit the HeartStrings website and enjoy more inspirational stories and clean jokes! http://christlight.org/~abg/stories1.htm
HeartStrings archive:
http://www.topica.com/lists/HeartStrings/read

None of these stories are written by me unless indicated. Known authors will be credited; no author listed means the author is unknown to me.
Steve Hall
 
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