Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.'s grave marker at the A...

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Today, we here in America celebrate the survival of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen, who have fought our wars. It is a noble day and has been since the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 93 years ago. It is a time to remember the sacrifices made and honor the men and women who made them.

It is our veterans day because we celebrate the lives of those killed on Memorial Day which goes back to that most horrid of American Wars, the Civil War. On both days is heard in the land the song written by Union Colonel Daniel Butterfield during the Seven Days Battle in Virginia.

But we should remember more than that.

In the rest of the English speaking world this is Remembrance Day. It is the day when all over the English speaking world the men and women who have given their lives for freedom and their country are remembered. We should also note that on this day in 1921 a British or Commonwealth soldier, known only to God, was presented, by General Pershing with the Medal of Honor, in Westminster Abbey.

We remember the British Tommies who have so ably supported us over the years.

Men such as this:

Iraq, 2004:Serving in the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, Johnson Beharry was the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross in almost 30 years – the highest military decoration for valour.His story of remarkable bravery includes twice saving members of his unit from ambushes in Iraq. During the second incident he sustained severe head injuries.

On 1 May 2004, Beharry was driving a Warrior Tracked Armoured Vehicle called to assist an ambushed foot patrol. His vehicle was hit by multiple rocket propelled grenades, resulting in the loss of radio communications.

The platoon commander, the vehicle’s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. His periscope optics damaged, Private Beharry had to open his hatch to steer his vehicle, exposing his face and head to small arms fire.

Beharry drove the crippled Warrior through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded comrades from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for ‘valour of the highest order’.

Then, back on duty on 11 June 2004, Beharry was driving the lead Warrior of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed again.

A rocket propelled grenade hit the vehicle six inches from Beharry’s head, causing serious shrapnel injuries to his face and brain. Other rockets then hit the vehicle, incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew.

Despite his life threatening injuries, Beharry retained control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He needed brain surgery for his head injuries – and he was still recovering in March 2005 when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

and the Canadians, those great warriors of the north.

and certainly the Australians who even stayed with us in Vietnam.

There is a hymn that is associated with the day, especially in Canada and the UK, this is it, this video is from Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral, note the dipping of the dockside cranes as the cortege passes.

There are many dead over the last century in defense of freedom and all deserve to be remembered. And for the most part they are, in our hearts and in our minds.

Has it been worth it? The citizen of Ypres, Belgium seem to think so. Every night at 8:00pm since their liberation in 1918, except during the German occupation in World War II, they have executed this ceremony,

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13

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