Fr. Randy Sly on Veterans Day: Live the Values Which Inspired Their Sacrifice
Today marks the observance of Veterans Day in the United States of America. I am a Vietnam Veteran and this day means a lot to me. As a young sailor, I still remember landing in Danang, South Vietnam under a rocket attack and then hustling into the receiving area. There, on the floor, were young men of my own age. Many were bandaged, in wheel chairs or on crutches. At that moment war became more than a story I had previously reported as a broadcast journalist; it was real.Many of the Veterans we honor today gave their lives for a country which believed that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We should live our lives standing for the same principles.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Saturday, November 11, 2017 marks the observance of Veterans Day in the United States of America. I am a Vietnam Veteran and this day means a lot to me.
As a young sailor, I still remember landing in Danang, South Vietnam under a rocket attack and then hustling into the receiving area. There, on the floor, were young men of my own age. Many were bandaged, in wheel chairs or on crutches. At that moment war became more than a story I had previously reported as a broadcast journalist; it was real.
Today, I remember my shipmates from the Navy who were a part of our Western Pacific or "WestPac" operations. Our destroyer had been hit once by an enemy rocket but only sustained minor injuries. I had not yet reported aboard when it happened - but the stories were still being told.
I remember classmates from high school and college who also served. Some never came back; others came back but were never the same.
I remember my father, a World War II veteran, who told me stories of flying into war-torn Europe and being a test pilot for fighters and bombers that were destined for the front lines.
Most of all, I think of the blood red sacrifices that were made on behalf of our country in many wars. Their lives are remembered in graveyards across our nation, at Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields near where I live, and at national cemeteries like Arlington, Punchbowl in Hawaii and Normandy, France that I have visited.
As a Fourth Degree Knight and Past Faithful Navigator, patriotism has become more alive to me in recent years. We have seen the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem and other symbols of our country abused by dissidents and, more sadly, discounted by rank and file Americans. As Catholics we must especially remember that our "One Nation Under God," not only needs our commitment but also our Catholic Conscience.
America needs Catholics, faithful to the teachings of the Church, who will vote their values, communicate those values and live out their values. America needs Catholics who pray for her leaders and work to protect the life, family, freedom while maintaining a solidarity with the poor and downtrodden.
Years ago, when I was Faithful Navigator for our Assembly, I sent the following letter to our Sir Knights on Veterans Day. I share it with all our readers today:
"On June 28, 1919 the treaty of Versailles was signed, ending World War I. However, an armistice had been reached seven months earlier and fighting actually ceased at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
"Beginning the following year, November 11 was known as "Armistice Day." President Woodrow Wilson established the day by saying, ""To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
"On May 13, 1938 November 11th was declared a legal holiday by Congress to remember the cessation of fighting and those who had served in 'The Great War.'
"It was in 1953 that Alfred King, the owner of a shoe store in Emporia Kansas and World War II veteran, had the idea of expanding Armistice Day to include veterans of all wars. He presented the idea to the Emporia Chamber of Commerce and quickly all businesses in the town supported the concept and closed on November 11th in honor of veterans. The town's Board of Education also agreed, closing school.
"U.S. Representative Ed Rees, who represented the area took King's idea to Congress and proposed a bill making November 11 Veterans Day. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.
"In 1971 the U.S. tried to turn Veterans Day into a movable holiday to provide a three-day weekend. This ended up in a lot of confusion and frustration. Then, on September 20, 1975 President Gerald R. Ford returned Veterans Day to it proper place on November 11.
"Today we honor all the men and women who have served their country in all branches of the Armed Services. As Fourth Degree Knights, this is a great time to renew our commitment as Catholic Patriots. At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington in May of 2009, Archbishop Raymond Burke stated:
"'Before the fundamental and great challenges which we as a nation are facing, how better to express our patriotism than by celebrating the teachings of our Catholic faith. The most treasured gift which we as citizens of the United States of America can offer to our country is a faithful Catholic life.
"'It is the gift which, even though it has often been misunderstood, has brought great strength to our nation, from the time of its founding. Today more than ever, our nation is in need of Catholics who know their faith deeply and express their faith, with integrity, by their daily living.'"
As a Vietnam Veteran (USNR) and Past Faithful Navigator of the Knights of Columbus, I want to say to all the veterans - thank you and God bless you!
As Catholics, I want to challenge us to live out our faith to the fullest of our ability as God gives us strength, for His glory, the good of our Church and the good of our country. Those who died should not have died in vain.
They gave their lives for a country who believed that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We can live our lives standing for the same principles.
Father Randy Sly is a Catholic priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (On Groups of Anglicans). He is the Chaplain of the Common Good movement and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate. He is a popular speaker for parishes, apostolates and organizations.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed. That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.
An FBI request for un-redacted Planned Parenthood documents from the U.S. Senate could signal an investigation into whether the abortion ... continue reading
Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the majority of the island is still without power, and many residents are ... continue reading
They gave their lives for a country who believed that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain ... continue reading
Today marks the observance of Veterans Day in the United States of America. I am a Vietnam Veteran and this day means a lot to me. As a ... continue reading
It is a historical fact that Catholic armies have saved the world many times over. Whether turning back the tides of hostile Islamic ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, November 20th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, November 20, 2017
- 'DEFEND the Pope!'
- Do you know what the Church really says about Nuclear War?
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 HD Video
- St. Edmund Rich: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 20, 2017
- The Remarkable Story of an Underground Priest Living in China
- Catholics are sharing Christ's compassion. HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, November 19th, 2017 HD
- Did Pope Francis blast 'perverse attitude' of climate change deniers? HD
- Scientists warn: The end of life as we know it is near HD
Daily Reading for Monday November 20, 2017
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way