Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Day’

Veterans Day Tribute 2020

November 12, 2020

Each year on November 11, I pause to reflect upon Veterans Day, a national holiday of special significance to me. First of all, I am a veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience relates to my being back in the Washington, DC area where I lived from 1969 to 1971. Upon being discharged, I found a job as an information analyst working for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association in the Nation’s Capital. Most providentially, this is where I met my wife, Brenda. We were married in 1973 and returned to live in Arlington, VA, near the area where we currently live, right up the road from our older daughter, Melissa, and her husband, William, and our first grandson, Kingston.

Each Veterans Day, I reflect with the deepest gratitude upon my military experience, which first appeared to be a disaster but turned out to be a remarkable blessing and a time of great spiritual growth. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, subsequently becoming a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary, IN. While enjoying the “good life,” I received my “Greetings from Uncle Sam” in 1967 was drafted into the US Army. Back then I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given the option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians.

The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I chose to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching classes online at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and St. Augustine’s University.

My time of service as a pharmacy instructor began with intense training at the Medical Field Service School. During this time, I recall one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors, but there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indicating I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year, however, increased the likelihood of being sent to Vietnam if a pharmacy position needed to be filled there.

About nine months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until years later on Memorial Day when I looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a composition and literature class at the time at the Louisville campus of Indiana Wesleyan University when I saw my colleague’s death in a totally different light. In literature, we find a term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure representing Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of the most notable qualities being “self-sacrifice.”

I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor, in a sense, went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who took my place and gave his life that I might live. My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite verse in my favorite chapter of the Bible:

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. Each Veterans Day, I reflect with gratitude to God for my time of service in the military, recognizing the contribution that veterans have made and continue to make to secure the blessings of liberty that we enjoy, especially during this period in our nation’s history.

We conclude with this Veterans Day Tribute:

Veterans Day Prayer

November 11, 2017

veterans-day-thank-you-quotesOn November 11, 2017, Veterans Day, we offer this prayer for our veterans:

Almighty God, our Father, with grateful hearts we offer thanks for the lives of all veterans who have served and who continue to serve in the military in our nation. We are especially grateful for those who have given the last full measure of devotion and sacrificed their lives that we might enjoy the fruits of freedom. We continue pray for those who serve in the military today, especially for those who place themselves in harm’s way around the world.  May those who presently serve in the military dwell in the secret place of the most high and abide under the shadow of the Almighty, for You are the Lord, our refuge, our fortress, our God in whom we place our trust. We offer thanks and praise that in the time of trouble, You shall hide us–in Your secret place shall You hide us.

You have said that You go before us as our battle axe and our weapons of war; indeed, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. As You lead us into battle, the glory of the Lord shall be our rear guard, as You carry us from faith to faith and victory to victory. We declare that we will not be terrified by our enemies nor be distressed by the challenges that confront us, for the battle is not ours, but it is Yours, and You shall bear Your mighty arm that the nations of the world might know that the Lord, our God, is mighty to save.

We thank and praise You for the victory. Now thanks be unto God who always causes us to triumph in Christ and makes manifest the sweet savor of His knowledge by us in every place. And it is in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our conquering hero and soon-coming King, the name above all names, we pray. Amen.

We close with a Salute to Veterans–“Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes:

Veterans Day 2017

November 10, 2017

veterans-day-2016

Veterans Day 2017 will be celebrated today on Friday, November 10 since November 11 occurs on Saturday this year. The underlying purpose of the Federal holiday is to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. Originally known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I at 11 a.m. on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, the present designation of Veterans Day occurred in 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day. Most appropriately, today’s blog post focuses on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

It is a memorable occasion because it is my sister Cheryl’s birthday—she was born November 11, 1946—at that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried.  She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience which occurred 50 years ago is directly related to my present position as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies in Fayetteville, NC.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today, I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me from Gary, Indiana to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, my first time ever setting foot in the State. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching at CCBS.

Prior to coming back to North Carolina, I taught at a number of institutions in the Midwest, including Indiana Wesleyan University in Ohio and Kentucky. At that time I recognized a special Blue Grass connection that I would like mention as I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. There was one notable difference, however. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman, had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About nine months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until a few years ago when on Memorial Day I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center, and we had no classes on that holiday when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light. In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ; one of the most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.”

I was overwhelmed by recognizing that my fellow instructor could be seen as “going in my place.” What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite verse in my favorite chapter of the Bible: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

We close our Veterans Day reflection with a moving tribute to veterans “Remember Me” compiled by Lizzie Palmer:

Reflections on Veterans Day 2015

November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015On Veterans Day, November 11, 2015, as I reflect upon the celebration of this particular national holiday, I am re-posting a devotional from last year, focusing on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

What began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, was later renamed Veterans Day which commemorates all veterans. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day.

November 11 is also a memorable occasion for me because it is the birthday of my sister, Cheryl Thompson Williams, who was born November 11, 1946. At that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried. She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience is directly related to my being in Fayetteville, NC, where I serve as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and at Fayetteville State University.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Vietnam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given the option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching here at CCBS and FSU and at Indiana Wesleyan University where I teach classes online.

As I reflect upon Veterans Day, I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. But there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About 9 months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until about three years ago when I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center of Indiana Wesleyan when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light.

In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of whose most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.” I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

We conclude by listening to Major Jason Billington singing “The Eagle Cried,” a moving tribute to Vietnam Veterans:

Veterans Day Tribute

November 11, 2014

veterans (2)

Most appropriately, our devotional for today focuses on Veteran’s Day, a day of special significance to me in a number of ways.

What began as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on the 11th Day of 11th Month of 1918, was later renamed Veterans Day which commemorates all veterans. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the recognition of November 11 as Veterans Day.

November 11 is also a memorable occasion for me because it is the birthday of my sister, Cheryl Thompson Williams, who was born November 11, 1946. At that time it was called Armistice Day, as I well remember. Also November 11, 2000 was the day that her husband, Elliott Thompson, who was also a Veteran, was buried. She has since remarried, and her husband, Thomas, is also a veteran.

Veterans Day is also special to me for another reason. I am a Veteran, having served two years in the US Army, from 1967 to the end of 1968 during the Vietnam era. Most providentially that experience is directly related to my being in Fayetteville, NC, where I serve as an adjunct professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and at Fayetteville State University.

I was born and reared in Gary, Indiana, and when I was about 13 or 14, I visited Purdue University, the first college campus I ever set foot on, and I decided at that time that I would attend Purdue and major in Pharmacy. When I graduated from high school in 1960, I enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy in 1965, and subsequently became a registered pharmacist, working as a staff pharmacist at Methodist Hospital in Gary. I was enjoying the “good life” when I received my “greetings from Uncle Sam.” In 1967 I was drafted into the US Army. At the time I thought this was the worst thing that could have happened to me. Being drafted into the Army in the late 60s was not an ideal situation for a young African American male in light of the disproportionate number of black men sent to Viet Nam, many of whom did not return and others who were forever changed by that experience.

Today I recognize more clearly than ever that what Satan meant for evil, God in His providence, transforms into something great and glorious. While I was in the Army, I rode the crest of the Jesus Movement and experienced a powerful conversion that introduced me to the transforming power of God through receiving the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

In January of 1967 after a tearful farewell with my parents, I boarded the bus that took me to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon completing of my basic training, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, Texas, where I was given option of working in a dispensary filling prescriptions, as I had done previously, or I could choose to become a pharmacy instructor and teach pharmacy technicians. The second option sounded intriguing since I had not done that before, and so I opted to become a pharmacy instructor, which turned out to be ideally suited to me and opened up a new world of classroom teaching which ignited a passion to teach. This passion eventually motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in English from Emporia State University in Kansas and a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University. This passion continues to burn, even as I am teaching here at CCBS and FSU and at Indiana Wesleyan University where I teach classes online.

As I reflect upon Veterans Day, I pay tribute to one particular veteran from Kentucky whom I knew briefly while serving as a pharmacy instructor at Fort Sam Houston. He and I had a number of things in common: we were both drafted as pharmacists who opted to become pharmacy instructors so we went through the training at the Medical Field Service School together. But there was one notable difference. I had not signed up for an additional year of service, despite the Army’s indication that I might not get a pharmacy position if I didn’t. My fellow serviceman, had signed up for the additional year, but we both received pharmacy positions. The additional year increased the likelihood that you might have to go to Vietnam if there were a pharmacy position that needed to be filled.

About 9 months after we completed our training as instructors, my fellow instructor received orders for Vietnam, and by the end of the year, he was shipped overseas. In the early part of the next year, we received the news that he had been killed. The impact of that experience did not fully resonate with me until about three years ago when I again looked up the name of this individual on the website for the Vietnam Memorial and recognized that he was from a small town in Kentucky. I was teaching a class at the IWU Louisville Center of Indiana Wesleyan when I saw my colleague’s sacrifice in a totally different light.

In literature there is term called a Christological figure or Christ Figure. The term refers to an object, person, or figure that represents Christ allegorically or symbolically, or any similar object, person, or figure with qualities generally reminiscent of Christ, one of whose most notable qualities is “self sacrifice.” I was overwhelmed by the reality that my fellow instructor went in my place. What transpired while I was in the Army culminated in an awareness of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took my place and gave his life that I might live.

My whole experience in the military brings to mind my favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.

Here is a video “Remember Me” compiled by Lizzie Palmer as a tribute to veterans: