I’ve written on this subject a number of times in the past so it would seem negligent of me to not do it today. As I type these words it is close enough to midnight to just call it November 11, 2011. Numerologists are having lots of fun with that number. 11.11.11. Veteran’s Day, 2011. First, it will be a hundred years – November 11, 2111 – before the abbreviated date of all one’s will occur again. So is this a good thing, numerologically speaking, or maybe not so much?
In the words of the 16th century scholar Petrus Bungus, 11 "has no connection with divine things, no ladder reaching up to things above, nor any merit." Stuck between the divine numbers 10 and 12, 11 was pure evil, and represented sinners.
According to Alan Lenzi, professor of religious studies at University of the Pacific who studies biblical numerology, "Numbers that are already significant to us, such as calendar dates that also coincidentally fall into an obvious pattern, become doubly significant," Lenzi said. "11/11/11 is another example of people doing what people are cognitively prone to do: find significance."
So what does that have to do with anything?
In the Unites States we commemorate those men and women who have served our nation in one of the five branches of the armed services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. We raise our flags, hold parades, sometimes have fireworks, other times hold special celebrations and make award presentations, and politicians makes speeches which in most cases come after the annual elections have been held. In 2011 that was Tuesday, November 8, 2011.
Today I am writing to remind anyone who reads this that the freedom we have as a nation has come at great expense – generally the lives of men and women who, had they lived, would be being celebrated as veterans today.
Many in my family have served, from uncles, cousins, brothers, nephews, and those who are in-laws who have served. You’ll note I didn’t mention aunts, nieces, or sisters. None of my aunts, nieces or sisters served. However, my wife is a Navy vet. My sister-in-law is an Army vet. So at least by marriage, females from my family have served.
I started school late because of a fluke in the law. I was born the day after the cutoff to register, so consequently when I turned eighteen and registered for the Nam, I still had six months of high school. I elected to finish school. Just days before my lottery number would have come up, Mr. Nixon signed the papers ending the Viet Nam draft. It’s the only time in my life I’ve had a good draw with the lottery.
Two of my brothers enlisted as had my father and step father before them. My step son enlisted in the Navy, two of my nephews enlisted (Marine Corps and Air Force) and sons of both my brother-in-la and sister-in-law either have or will serve.
My best friend from high school died of a brain tumor from agent orange exposure in the Nam, but it took ten years to kill him.
Other friends went to the Nam. Most came home, but some made the trip in plain flag draped pine boxes, while a few more, well I guess no one will ever know.
Here is my point. Take time to seek out a vet today and thank him, or her. Thank their spouses, their siblings, their parents and their children. Thank them for their sacrifices, because whether they served, or left loved ones behind, sacrifices were made by all of them.
And when you’re done with that, fall down on your knees and thank God Almighty for allowing you to be born in a nation where you are free enough to give thanks.