I’m writing this on Veteran’s Day 2014. It’s the 11th month, the 11th day, and almost the 11th hour my time here in Texas. You see, this specific time has been ingrained in me to think about our military and to remember the service of our American Veterans.
My husband John used to be in The United States Army Band Pershing’s Own in Washington D.C. He was a military band musician with one of the military’s special bands, so he worked, and we lived, in that D.C. area for all of his 25 years in the military.
Every Veteran’s Day, I would watch my husband either in person or on the television screen on the 11th day and 11th hour of this 11th month as he performed ceremonial duties in Arlington National Cemetery every Veteran’s Day for 25 years straight.
It has been weird on this day since my husband’s retirement from the Army in 2006. My husband spent 25 years at Arlington National Cemetery on this day, and as I mentioned, I was there too in some form or fashion (physically or through the TV screen) for 25 years too. That veteran’s ceremony was always kind of my focus each and every year on this 11 day of the 11 month of each year. However, John is a veteran now, and he spends this day doing other things while we both remember fondly those precious moments of his time in service there in D.C. I do still watch my husband’s former military co-workers (some of them still good, close friends) in action on this day, if only on the television screen from 1,400 miles away now.
It is just kind of weird each year when this day pops up. I kind of feel a little lost each time, a little confused or something. Things have changed so much.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that my husband was in the Army for 25 years. Sometimes I need to remind myself he is now a retired veteran of The United States Army. Yes indeed… Some things change so much. Some things seem to not change at all.
My dad served in World War II. He was in the Army as well. (It is kind of a neat feeling when your husband and dad have a bond like that.)
My brother served in the Army during Desert Storm.
I haven’t even begun to dig the surface of my other family members who have served in the ranks of our nation’s military. I’m proud of all my friends and family who have given of themselves so that our country can enjoy the freedoms and blessings that we have today. Their efforts have NOT gone in vain!
My family in 2006 upon the military retirement of my husband John
(L – R) Chris, Amy, Scott, John, Carrie, and John’s Mom Jo
A couple months ago, an old, dear friend of mine, the wife of a now-retired Marine Corps Officer, sent a YouTube video to me. The title of the video she sent was “U S Marines Singing ‘Days of Elijah'”. She thought I would enjoy seeing it.
Diana, I DID enjoy seeing that video. I DID watch it; I pulled it back up again to see today, this 11th month and 11th day, and that video touched my heart to its core!
I would like to share that same video with you here, but before I do, please give me a moment to share something about that video.
The video Diana sent depicts a large, classroom-type room of Marines, uniformed Marines, all together singing the jubilant, victorious song ‘Days of Elijah’. It appears to be an organized worship service for these Christian Marines, a military worship service.
When I started watching the video, I immediately felt a sense of joy and shared in a glorious sense of praise and worship with these men. It was exciting as well as comforting to see dozens and dozens of Marines singing Christian music and worshiping our Lord with all their hearts.
These Marines held nothing back. They gave their all as they totally and completely worshiped their Lord and God.
Watching them from afar, their uniforms reminded me they were in a career, an occupation, where they could put their lives on the line that night. At the same time, their open, outstretched arms; raised hands, cheerful faces, and joyous dancing reminded me that should they die that night, they would all be all right, immediately safe in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father.
It was during that back and forth toss of reality that I realized what I was really seeing on that screen.
I was seeing them in this life that I know now. THEY were seeing Jesus Christ in the life that they will have in the 11th hour we will all have someday.
When you watch this video, and I hope you all do, look at these men and ask yourself if you think they are worried about that night, about tomorrow,, or the next day… or next month. Ask if you think they are consumed with fear.
Sure, they are humans, and I’m sure they do have concern over certain things. For instance, if they have family, I’m sure they would probably rather not just up and leave this world out of the blue, leaving their families in sadness behind them. They also might wonder what it would feel like to die in battle; to have a leg blown, to lose their eyesight… or their hearing… or a friend who was just standing beside them.
However, when you watch the moments of this video, you can see that, regardless of what they know… what we ALL know deep down.. COULD happen, whatever these courageous men may face, or whatever their families may be up against, there should be no worries about the hearts of these men. Their bodies are fighting machines, but their hearts are sheltered safely in the Lord’s arms.
Doesn’t that make you feel safer knowing we have men and women like this in our military, men and women of God who place their trust and their faith in Christ? I know that sure makes me feel better about things!
Believe me when I say you will be totally amazed when you watch this video. The level of trust and faith shown by these men is amazing. There is not much you can compare to when you see what is happening in this video!
It is just an amazing, amazing feeling to understand there are military men and women among our military forces who are fighting for our safety and protection, placing their lives on the line, and watching out for our nation, men and women who are doing so only by their ability to place their own entire life in the care of Jesus Christ.
Add to this the many veterans who, for many years, have placed this same faith and trust in their Lord as they put their own lives on the line for us all!
If you ever wonder if we are a blessed nation still, you can rest assured we are blessed by these men and women and by the men and women who walked this same path before them. We have been blessed, and from the looks of this video, we are blessed as a nation still!
I just realized…. I guess I once again spent today, the 11th month, 11th day, at the 11th hour looking at our military, and I’m asking you to look at them now too on this day. But remember… the men in this video won’t be looking back at you. They will be looking upwards to a mighty Lord that is their rock, their fortress, their stronghold and shield. They will be seeing their Father, their Savior, their deliverer and friend.
They see the One who will be there for them and the One who will hold them closely under large, loving wings out of love on their 11th hour someday.
When our military looks up, they are not alone.
I don’t know about you, but that seems to be the kind of safety and protection I would like to have. At least I know that, so long as we have men and women of faith in our armed forces, we are all ULTIMATELY in the best of hands.
Here’s the video. Enjoy, and be strengthened. Then go find a veteran somewhere to thank for his or her service, an active duty service member for his or her dedication, or a military family for their sacrifices each and every day.
Then sit down a spell, think about your life and how temporary and fragile life is for us all, and look up. You won’t be alone.
That same 11th hour Lord of these Marines is there for us all.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. -Psalm 33: 12 – 16