Veteran's Day 2014

  • Nov. 11, 2014
  • #8487

Veteran’s Day is an opportunity for us to show gratitude and respect for those who served our country in uniform.

Veteran's Day 2014

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story for Veteran’s Day.

My friend, Bob Martinez, is a veteran with the Marine Corps – he served as a corporal in the US Marines during the Vietnam War and, like many veterans of that war, Bob saw an awful lot of things on the battlefield. But through the years, he has successfully worked through his post-traumatic stress. This man really understands the particular horror of that war, and his heart goes out to the men and women who, like him, fought in Southeast Asia. It’s why, to this day, he likes to support them through his act of service with the Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League here in Southern California. Whenever a Marine is buried in a local veteran’s cemetery, Bob will often be called on to bring his bugle and play Taps at the memorial service.

Well, one Sunday morning not long ago, he went to the San Fernando Mission Cemetery to play Taps for a memorial service. He arrived pretty early – none of the other guests had arrived, and so spent his time wandering the rows of grave markers, looking at all the names. He noticed one marker on the gravesite of a fellow US Marine Vietnam veteran who had been killed in action. He bent down and read the words on the marker. It was the grave of a Medal of Honor recipient. Cpl. William T. Perkins, Jr was his name, and he was only 20 years old when he died. Bob remained by the grave marker for a long moment, deeply moved by the brief summary of this young Marine’s life. The boy hardly had a chance at life, he was so young. After a few minutes Bob straightened up and decided that, since it was still early, he would play Taps over this young man’s gravesite.

As he raised the bugle to his lips, he noticed that, at some distance away, twelve or more other US Marines were clipping and trimming the grass away from the other markers and placing flags on the graves of fallen veterans. When Bob began to slowly play Taps, all those Marines stopped their work, stood at attention, and saluted. It was a special moment – unplanned, unrehearsed, and unexpected. It was a band of brothers, all united by a common experience – wartime service in defense of their country. And you know what? We owe them our gratitude and respect.

So today on Veteran’s Day, think about your neighbors or coworkers, or people in your church who have served our country in uniform. They may have fought in WWII (although there are very few still living), or they may have fought in the Korean War, or in Vietnam, or in Desert Storm, or in Iraq or Afghanistan. They may be people you see at church, at work, or in your community every day, but maybe you’ve almost forgotten about their service in the military. Well, one thing is for certain: they have not forgotten. And some of them, even after all these years, may still carry the emotional scars of the battle. So today is the time to remember them and their service – this is Veteran’s Day – and not just remember, but go out of your way to commend and thank them.

As the poet Joanna Fuchs has written:

“When you see someone in a uniform, Someone who serves us all, Doing military duty, Answering their country’s call, Take a moment to thank them For protecting what you hold dear; Tell them you are proud of them; Make it very clear. Just tap them on the shoulder, Give them a smile, and say, ‘Thanks for what you’re doing To keep us safe in the USA!’” – Joanna Fuchs

God bless you and have a blessed Veteran’s Day.

© Joni and Friends


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