Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you Veterans

No other words needed.
It's a day to remember what Veterans have done for us.  I know we live in an age of uber-cynicism.  We hear every day that all politicians are liars, that our entire government sucks, that big business this, and big something else that.  We hear how voting is a waste of time, doesn't matter, and heck, could even jeopardize your soul, so best just to write in Mickey Mouse and head off to Qumran and await the consummation of God's Justice on everyone else who voted.  We live in an age where a people segregated from reality through electronic interaction with the world around us can speak lofty words about how useless, baseless, and worthless all of this failed American experiment has been.  And yet, for some reason, we rally around the flag and thank our veterans on this day for making all of this possible.

For me, I try - I try really hard - to avoid such grand cynicism.  Yes, there's a healthy skepticism that comes from the Christian understanding of sin and living in a fallen world.  In an age where, as a Catholic, I must hang my head in shame for the catastrophic lack of oversight that occurred when it came to protecting the most innocent of our own for endless decades, I'm inclined to be forgiving toward other institutions that are not so endowed with the grace of God when they fail. 

Sure, America, like any human endeavor, has failed.  Sure it's in major turmoil now as ideals hostile toward God, Christianity, and human life itself struggle to assume control of our county.  And we live in a time where worn out and threadbare citizens are simply loping along waiting for the next Smart Phone release, oblivious to the threats that lurk on the horizon.  And yet, when I think of the alternative, I am still quite proud of this country.  When I realize that the Church actually encourages me to take part in our civil discourse, including the importance of voting (and that means for more than Billy Bob down the street just to make it official), then I realize just how precious was the price paid by those who gave their last measure of devotion for this special and unique experiment that is the American nation.  May we live up to the promise for which they fought, sacrificed, and died.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln.

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