For my Veterans Day blog post this year I am rehashing an article I wrote two years ago about a special Veterans Day event with Oliver North. You who have been LCCC small group leaders more than two years will probably remember reading this. But, I hope you enjoy it again, and perhaps even use some of its content, along with the two fun articles which follow it, to honor our veterans and reflect on what our mission and values are as American believers.
Blessings on your homes,
Veterans Day with Lt. Col. Oliver North
November 6, 2008: Two Friday nights ago I had the privilege of meeting and hearing Lt. Col. Oliver North speak at a Northwest Baptist Seminary fundraising banquet (with the younger Kenningtons, pictured above). “Ollie,” as he doesn’t mind being called, is a remarkable man. In an almost hour long gripping speech, he began by expressing his dismay with the media’s negative portrayal of our military. As an anchor for Fox News, he is dedicated to bringing the positive side of our troops to light. He told one particular captivating story of heroism that he had personally caught on tape using Reuters’ film. They aired it on his Fox show, but it never showed up on Reuters, AP, or any other outlet. It was simply too heroic; too positive for mainstream media.
He told several more of these positive storiesultimately to lead to his crescendo. Not only has he witnessed great acts of heroism being done by great soldiers, but he is seeing more than ever, in his 43 years in the military, the penetration of the gospel of Jesus Christ by these troops, whom he admiringly calls, “Missionaries in 7lb. helmets.” Sure, many soldiers do not fit this category, and even many who do are “rough around the edges.” But he has never witnessed a time when so many soldiers are openly reading their Bibles and expressing care for the people surrounding them.
There is much more that you and I will never hear in mainstream media about the work that is being done by our soldiers. They are penetrating regions with the gospel that have never had access to the Truth. They have become the first “women’s advocates” that parts of these nations have ever seen. Because of them, women, for the first time in thousands of years of history, are able to go to school past the third grade, vote, and participate in society without fear of persecution – or execution.
Lt. Col. North attributes this to the power of the gospel, and challenged his audience with the questions: “Who will follow and finish the work these men and women have started? And who will support those who go, generously?” It was a suitable application for the venue at which he was speaking – a fundraiser for a ministry/missions-minded seminary which exists to develop world-changing heroic faith in men and women. I believe this application is also suitable in our small groups under your leadership, and in our homes, where we take on the ministry of changing lives for Christ.
I was proud to be an American that night. And much more so to be a believer in Christ who is striving for heroic faith and Christian ministry. I hope you will share this encouragement with your small groups and spend a moment to be proud of the good aspects of our country; determined to improve the less desirable aspects; thankful to our veterans for protecting our rights to do such things; grateful to God for giving us the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ; and committed to bring Christ’s love to the world as a small group within His church.
VETERANS DAY HUMOR
The elderly American gentleman arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs he fumbled for his passport.
“You ‘ave been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.
The old gent admitted that he had been to France previously.
“Zen, you should know enough to ‘ave your passport ready for inspection.”
The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”
“Impossible. You Americans alwayz ‘ave to show your passports on arrival in France!”
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in ’44, I couldn’t find any Frenchmen to show it to.”
SO, DOES VETERANS DAY HAVE AN APOSTROPHE OR WHAT?
If you’re like me, you’ve spent autumn’s chilly Saturdays sipping wine by the fire and thinking, “Where the heck does the apostrophe go in the upcoming Veterans Day, and should there be one at all?” I can’t blame you. This is a pretty heated debate. In fact, calendars, the government and newspaper editors like me all contradict each other.
It would be nice if we could agree on the correct name of the holiday: Veterans, Veteran’s, or Veterans’. There’s even more confusion with holidays like Presidents’ Day and Mother’s Day, not to mention terms like drivers’ license.
So why can’t anyone agree? One problem is, all three versions can be grammatically correct, depending on the case you make for them. But we should decide who is the final authority in this — calendars, the government or newspapers.
My Mead pocket calendar tells me that “Veterans’ Day” has an apostrophe after the “S.” But the federal Veterans Administration doesn’t include one. Perhaps the most definitive source is this: On the VA website, it explains, “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe … because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans; it is a day for honoring all veterans.”
And that’s good enough for me.