Veterans Day is a holiday observed annually in the United States in honor of all those, living and dead, who served with the U.S. armed forces. Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who have died in wartime, Veterans Day honors all those who have served in times of peace as well as in war. Veterans Day is observed on November 11.
The holiday was originally called Armistice Day, and it commemorated the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. Fighting stopped at 11 am, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. On June 4, 1926, Congress passed a resolution that the "recurring anniversary of [November 11, 1918] should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations . . . " In 1954 the name of the holiday was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor those who had served in World War II (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953). Today, the holiday honors all veterans. An official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country.
I looked up the word “veteran” and found it to mean “of long experience” from the Latin. The word then designates a person of long experience usually in some occupation or skill. This is how the word came to be used in the military as “an old soldier of long service.” I began to put this together with what the Bible says about the Christian soldier. He is to realize he is enlisted in the Lord’s army and must fight the good fight of faith throughout his life. There will be battles to the end and he is to never give up. He is to earn his stripes along the way. Then when time moves on he will reach veteran status and will be recognized for his service for the King.
It is interesting what the apostle Paul said in both first and second Timothy. In first Timothy he said: Fight the good fight of faith . . . (1 Tim 6:12) Then in second Timothy he said: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7) Years had gone by between these letters. He was in prison and knew the end was near. He would soon die for the faith. He had no regrets about his life. He had waged a good warfare (1 Tim 1:18). He had reached veteran status and held the respect of younger warriors who were moving up in the ranks. In fact Timothy himself would follow in Paul’s footsteps into a place of honor.
I think about all those who are serving or have served in the military and I have deep respect for them. How they put their lives on the line so we can be at home living our lives in safety and security. Then I think of the Christians who have lived their lives for Christ over the years in patient continuance in doing good (Rom 2:7). As we rejoice over the sinner who repents, let us also respect the one who has fought the good fight over time and emulate their faith in Christ.