by Jerry Stewart | One Moment In America | Fall/Winter, 2020
As we prepare for another Veterans Day in our America, it is important to be reminded lest we forget:
U.S. President Harry Truman said,
“America was not built on fear, but on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
Going all the way back to the beginning of our new nation, America has been blessed with brave and courageous men and women who have been willing to give their all, their “last full measure of devotion” for the America they love.
Nathan Hale, on a special mission for General George Washington in 1776, was captured and hung by the British Army. His last words before dying were,
“I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Captain James Lawrence, commander of the American ship, the Chesapeake, was fatally wounded early in the battle while manning his post from the cockpit. He gave orders to his last breath,
“Keep the guns going! Fight her til she strikes or sinks! Don’t give up the ship!”
This is the same unbelievable courage we see in our brave men and women serving today. They are willing to give their very lives for their country – and many do.
Interviews With Veterans
Over the last 20 years, I’ve had the great opportunity to interview over one hundred war veterans. I’ve talked with those who fought in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Middle East War. I’ve also talked with foot soldiers that fought in Europe, including one man who was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and spent 4 months in a German concentration camp. Interviews also included men who were captured by the Japanese and forced to walk in the brutal Bataan Death March.
I’ve talked with Veterans who have worked in various occupations within the Armed Forces. These include a Marine Ranger, PT boat gunner, an airplane mechanic, a jet fighter pilot, and helicopter crew chief, and a tank gunner. These are all brave Americans from every possible circumstance. I find two things to be consistently true:
First, each of them believes that whatever they did in the war wasn’t anything special – they were just doing their job. To put their life on the line for our country was their job and their responsibility, and each was so very proud to serve.
Second, each brave war veteran I have spoken with always wants to give the credit to someone else. Each of them is hesitant to take any credit for themselves.
That is amazing. But that’s the kind of people America is made of. We can be so thankful for the heroes, those who ride in cars during parades, those who are lavished with awards and medals and praise. We can thank God for them. But wars are not won by a few decorated heroes. For every one decorated hero, there are literally millions of brave American men and women who have fought to give us the freedom we have today – and we are so very thankful.
Lest we Forget! May God Bless Our Veterans!