After World War II, today was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. This date was chosen since the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was when the armistice with Germany in World War I was put in effect.
British Commonwealth countries now call the holiday Remembrance Day. Some countries still refer to Veterans or Remembrance Day as Armistice Day. Armistice means a truce or temporary suspension of hostilities between warring parties.
Armistice day is recognized in Belgium, St. Barts, France, French Guiana, Guam, Martinique, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Serbia, Wallis and Futuna, and Mayotte.
Today is also National Education Day in India which commemorates the birth of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who was the first education minister of independent India.
Some countries celebrate their independence today as Poland, Angola, and Columbia.
There are water festivals in Cambodia, celebration of the state flag in Azerbaijan, and it is Republic Day in the Maldives. It is also a fun holiday in Japan. Origami Day celebrates the ancient craft of paper folding.
But the favored celebration in my book is called St. Martin’s Day which is recognized in some European countries like Germany and Austria. It is like American thanksgiving and reminds children and adults alike to provide for the poor.
Legend has it that Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier, once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save him from the cold. That night, he dreamt of Jesus wearing the half-cloak and saying: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is now baptised; he has clothed me.” Do you recall the scripture that says: …whenever you do something to the least (someone overlooked or ignored) you have done it to Me. (Matthew 25.40 paraphrase)
Martin died on November 8, 397, and was buried on November 11, 397. So, this date is not just a celebration and reminder to have compassion but serves as a memorial service each year too.
And that is what Veterans Day should prompt us to do: remember those who served and sacrificed. Any day you see a vet salute, thank, and take a moment of to walk down memory lane with them. Be grateful for the freedoms that others fought on your behalf. The greatest freedom is to be free from sin. So grateful Christ came and paid the price. Such love. Such wondrous love.
“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” Winston S. Churchill
Be ready to meet your maker.
Be prepared to share the good news.
in action and deed.
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