HISTORY LEAVES OF THE METHODIST TREE
Compiled by Johnny Cordell
This month’s article will be dedicated to Veteran’s Day. The observance falls on the 11th month, 11th day, and 11th hour. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice which ended the World War 1 hostilities between the Allied Nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked and remembered for their service on Veteran’s Day.
So, what is a Veteran? Technically, a veteran is anyone who has worn the uniform of any military service, and been on active duty for 180 days. Although, I think the Veterans Administration has reduced the days, due to some reserve unit personnel who are not in training for 180 days. If you serve in a combat zone or war theater, then you are a veteran of that particular area, such as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. If you served in the military outside a combat zone or war theater, then you qualify as an era veteran of that particular war. Now that you know what qualifies one as a veteran, how can you know who is a veteran? Some veterans bear visible signs of the service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg, or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the body’s soul forged in the refinery of adversity. A veteran is the POW who went away one person and came back another, or didn’t come back at all. A veteran is the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. A veteran is any of the anonymous heroes in the Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep. A veteran is a soldier, and a savior, and a sword against the darkness, and he or she is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
For the most part, except in parade or veteran’s programs, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem except for the occasional individual wearing a service identifying baseball cap or hat. You really can’t tell a veteran by looking. In conclusion, I appreciate the recognition provided by Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, particularly the establishment of a Veterans Wall to highlight the service of our church members, past and present. Let Becky and Greg Tholken know their efforts are appreciated in bringing this project to fruition.
Sources: USMC Chaplin Denis O’Brien, Veterans Administration, Army Military article “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”
Last month’s question: What members of Chapel Hill UMC are currently conference certified lay speakers? Ethel Powell and Pamela Ryle
Next month’s question: What landmark in Sequatchie County is part of the Southeast Tennessee Religious Heritage Trail?