Please take a few minutes and watch this amazing documentary about war and peace.
[vimeo 128373915 w=640 h=360]
You will find hope if you reach the end credits. I guarantee it.
On this day, and every day, thank you.
For your service and your sacrifice.
“This year, we marked the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. We began to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. We welcomed our veterans back home from Iraq, and we continued to wind down operations in Afghanistan. These milestones remind us that, though much has changed since Americans first took up arms to advance freedom’s cause, the spirit that moved our forebears is the same spirit that has defined each generation of our service members. Our men and women in uniform have taught us about strength, duty, devotion, resolve — cornerstones of a commitment to protect and defend that has kept our country safe for over 200 years. In war and in peace, their service has been selfless and their accomplishments have been extraordinary.” — President Obama, Veterans Day Proclamation, November 11, 2012
“We are often reminded that, today, less than 1% of Americans wear the uniforms of our Nation. The sum of their service to the country, however, is beyond measure. Our rights and privileges as American citizens have been their gifts to each of us. We must not take those gifts for granted.” — Secretary Shinseki, A Message from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, November 9, 2012
“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.” — Ulysses S. Grant
“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.” — George S. Patton
“We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
“A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers.” — Norman Schwarzkopf
“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.” — Norman Schwarzkopf
“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” — Douglas MacArthur
“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” — Douglas MacArthur
Today, I reach the end of my ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ series, but by no means have I reached the end of my blessings. I barely scratched the surface of all the people, places and things I’m grateful for. Each morning when I wake up, I’m thankful for my life, my family, my friends, … the list is never ending.
I had grand ideas to post an appeal for world peace in this final entry, beseeching each of us to ‘Just Love’ each other. And I don’t mean the people who are easy to love, like your family, your spouse, your kids, your friends. I mean the people who make you boiling mad, who make you foam at the mouth, the stranger (or country or ethnicity or religion or political party … you fill in the blank) that you verbally abuse or berate via status updates. It’s not enough to wait for them to change or extend the olive branch. It must start with us. It must start with you and it must start with me first.
As much as I detest admitting it, the Beatles (and John Lennon in particular) got something right with ‘All You Need is Love.’ Jesus, though, is a hard act to follow:
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.
I never said it would be easy (and neither did He). I can do my small bit to bring about peace and hope in my small corner of the world.
And as we approach the season where we celebrate the Greatest Gift ever given to such unworthy recipients, I would like to share two final quotes. The first I consider my ‘life verse’ and refer to it frequently when I need a reminder of where to keep my thoughts and the second is an excerpt from the lyrics of a contemporary Christian hymn that often plays as a soundtrack of thanksgiving for my mindscape.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”
Give Thanks by Don Moen
* * *
And I wish to thank all of you who stayed with me through this month of blogging. I assure you I will now return to my regularly scheduled programming, meaning the occasional book or movie review with an occasional odd tidbit tossed in for some added vim and vigor. I sincerely appreciate that you took the time from your busy lives to peruse my musings. I pray each and every one of you has a wonderful life and spreads good cheer to all you meet.
Oh, one final suggestion. I thought I’d share our family tradition (since the mid 90s) of re-watching the Muppet Christmas Carol each year around Christmas time. How can you go wrong with Dicken‘s classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, and Muppets? The music isn’t half bad (I even bought the songbook) and the narrators are always good for a few laughs. Once Derek, Royna and Rachelle arrive (two before and one after Christmas), we’ll sit down one evening and re-live the ‘good old days’ with Scrooge and Bob Cratchit.
So I’ll close with the lyrics to my favorite Muppet Christmas Carol song, written by Paul Williams, called ‘A Thankful Heart‘:
With a thankful heart, with an endless joy
With a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me (Nephew and niece to me)
Will bring love, hope and peace to me (Love, hope and peace to me)
Yes and every night will end, and every day will start
With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart
With an open smile and with open doors
I will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health (With a glass raised to toast your health)
And a promise to share the wealth (Promise to share the wealth)
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On A sea of love and a thankful heart
Life is like a journey, who knows when it ends?
Yes and if you need to know the measure of a man
You simply count his friends
Stop and look around you, the glory that you see
Is born again each day, don’t let is slip away
How precious life can be
With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise (Used now to sing your praise)
And to beg you to share my days (Beg you to share my days)
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart
I will hold you close in a thankful heart