11th hour, 11th day, 11 month

Having served in the United States Air Force for four years during the 1980’s, I along with many others at Hawthorne Assembly have the special classification of being known as “Veterans”. Monday is the official day when Americans celebrate and honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day is to honor all who have served in the military; Memorial Day is to honor those who died in military service; Armed Forces Day honors those who currently serve in the US military. No matter the specifics, we need to recognize the men and women connected to our military. One significant way you can honor our veterans is by proudly displaying your American flag. I’ll give you one more suggestion in my closing remarks.

As we reflect on the one hundred and first anniversary of Veterans Day, we should be aware of what it means to those of us who have served in our U.S. Armed Forces. Let me clarify something about the 101st anniversary of Veterans Day, technically tomorrow is the 65th anniversary of “Veterans Day” which was officially named-changed from “Armistice Day”. It was for 36 years a sacred holiday to remember the end of WWI. President Woodrow Wilson felt it was important to recognize the ending of the war on this specific date November 11, 1918. The reason Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11th has everything to do with the number 11. It is a sequence of 11’s it began with the cessation of all major hostilities in WWI on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which is the title of this article. During our worship service today we will be honoring the veterans within our congregation. Even though it is not Memorial Day we will also never forget those who are no longer with us, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, “their lives,” during military conflict; included in our thoughts are others who died prematurely because of complications associated with their military service.

Since my father and father-in-law both served in the military and are still alive I will take my privilege to once again remember their service. Thankfully both are followers of Jesus and regularly attend church in their communities. Senior Master Sergeant James Leo Dokken (retired) was in the United States Air Force for 22 years. He faithfully served at 7 different locations including time overseas. My father-in-law, Chief Master Sergeant (retired) Elmer Jackson Kirkpatrick served in the United States Air Force for 30 years. Kirk attained the highest rank any enlisted person can achieve in the military. During those three decades he spent 3 years isolated from his family which normally meant somewhere thousands of miles away from home. Some of you may not be aware of the tragedy which happened while he was in the Philippines, Janet’s only other sibling was struck by a train and died while riding in the back seat of a student driver car. I can’t imagine having to be informed of your son’s death while living half a world away. Make sure you shake the hand of a Veteran sometime this week.

Here is my challenge and take away from this article; be thankful, show your gratitude to the individual who wears a Vietnam veteran ball cap or some military insignia. Let them know they are appreciated and not only on a day like today, but throughout the year. Please take a moment and thank them for their willingness to serve in the Armed Forces which ultimately gives us the amazing opportunity to be here today and to worship God freely. I know I said to thank a veteran when you see them but let’s be more thankful in general. As I have said lately, in all things give thanks! Let’s find reasons to be thankful and let’s find reasons to appreciate one another. I can promise you somebody today will be very happy to hear you say, “Thank You!”

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