Unless you are a veteran, married to one, or even the parent of a veteran, I don’t think anyone can really understand what it means to be a veteran.
At times, we get an inkling of what those years can be like through watching movies, such as "The Great Escape". In the comfort of our movie-watching seats, we cheering for them as they went about their escape plans, admiring their bravery – and then feeling the let down when most of them were recaptured. And this was based on real life.
There are many other movies that do an excellent job of capturing these moments. But sitting in a comfortable chair, munching popcorn for a few hours, knowing full well you can just walk away when its done and resume life, is a far, far cry from being in the field 24/7.
Last year, I read the book "Because He Loves Me, There Is Life Beyond Trauma", written by Richard Van Regenmorter. It was the author’s name that caught my attention; turns out, he was one of our own ‘locals’.
In the book, Van Regenmorter retells the life of the soldier on the battleground and what it was like adjusting to life again as a civilian and farmer.
Van Regenmorter fought in the Korean War – a war I haven’t read as much about. It never really gained the status of war, but instead, was called a conflict. But any soldier who was there at 38th parallel, or parents that brought their son to the train station, or sweetheart who anxiously waited for a letter, would tell you it was war.
The men and women who serve to protect our freedom and liberty do so at much personal cost. They unselfishly lay their lives on the line.
It really was hard to watch the disrespect shown to veterans participating in the Honor Flight during the recent government shutdown. It ‘s even more discouraging to know that our military is facing religious persecution. Repeatedly, we hear of chaplains being silenced, Bibles removed, crosses taken down at military chapels.
Something is very wrong there.
We don’t begin our days without first kneeling and thanking God for His blessings, requesting His providential care and guidance through the day. Surely, the men and women who protect our shores would like to know that chaplains are praying for them.
Can you imagine President Franklin Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech without the words, "So help us God"?
Veteran’s Day is the day set aside to acknowledge our military – to say thank you. Because of their sacrifice, and the blessings of God, we can go about our lives enjoying liberty all 365 days of the year.
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag, who serves under the Flag.
It is the Veteran,who gave his oath to support and defend The Constitution and Our Nation, Against all enemies foreign and Domestic.
It is the Veteran, willing to give his life to protect your freedoms and mine, Whose coffin is draped by the flag.
It was the Veteran, with faith in God, Who has given us all our Freedoms.
Essays from My Farm House Kitchen | Renae B. Vander Schaaf
Renae B. Vander Schaaf, freelance writer, lives on a real working farm in northwest Iowa.
To Contact Renae B. Vander Schaaf, please email her at [email protected].