I wanted to start off by giving a brief history on Veterans Day. On November 11, 1919, at the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first Armistice Day message honoring those members of the Armed Forces who had died during the war. In 1938, Armistice Day officially became a legal holiday to annually observe the fallen of WWI. In 1945, the idea of extending Armistice Day to honor all veterans who served honorably was presented by WWII veteran, Raymond Weeks, to General Dwight Eisenhower who supported the idea. However, it was not until 1954 when then-President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law Veterans Day, replacing the Armistice Day name. Raymond Weeks would continue to lead national Veterans Day observances until his death in 1985 and would be honored with the title of “Father of Veterans Day”.
During my time in the US Army as an Infantry Paratrooper, if there was a single mantra that we lived by, it was John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The most literal and common translation is to be willing to die to ensure our freedoms remain intact, protect our nation and interests across the world, honor those that came before us, and to protect our fellow brothers/sisters beside us. For us to complete these missions and to bring everyone home safely, our unit must operate as one body: be willing and ready for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of this, we give thanks and honor them annually on Veterans Day.
My time in the military revealed a deeper meaning of this verse. The word “life” in this interpretation more closely represents our way of living. In this context, to lay down one’s life was to lay down our own individual way of living for something greater than ourselves. A life where teamwork was more important than individual goals. Service. Sacrifice. Humility. Loyalty. Integrity. Honor. These traits are essential to our time in the military and as we transition to civilian life; to live out those core values’ in everyday life with our family and friends.
From all of us at BSI Online, we honor our veterans and give thanks for their service to our country.
Jody Hill | Director of Field Operations for BSI
Former US Army Infantry Paratrooper