2013-11-07 / Front Page

Heart Treasures

There She Stands*
by Joanne J. Hannon

They celebrated Veterans Day early; “they” being the folks at Spencer Presbyterian Church. Hubby and I were invited down for the weekend, highlighted by singing with the choir and ending with the annual auction at Cornerstone Hall on Sunday afternoon. It’s a tradition for the Burns’s from Kentucky and the Hannons from Indy, to come down and sing with the choir and help with the auction.

Singing in the choir on the 3rd of November was a moving experience because the folks had decided to take advantage of the extra people in the choir to honor our veterans with special music and a service of remembering. A surprise to all of us was the beautiful music played on the harp by Jack Money’s daughter-in-law, wife to Craig. Harp music will always call our souls to attention and prepare us with listening hearts. What followed during the service became all the more meaningful.

World War I, the war regarded generally as the “War to End All Wars,” was declared over on November 18, 1918. The fighting, however, had stopped at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. An Act approved on May 13 of 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, a day to be dedicated to the cause of World Peace. The day was to be called Armistice Day and primarily honored veterans of World War I. In June of 1954, after our troops had fought aggression in Korea, it was proposed that the word, “Armistice” be struck out and be replaced with “Veterans,” and that veterans of all wars be honored.” Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a “Veterans Day Proclamation,” on October 8, 1954, declaring the day, November 11, a day when all join hands in a common purpose of honoring our veterans.

We have “wars” among ourselves, for most of us not one where we are in combat with anyone, but differences in our beliefs, expressed verbally at times, causing a rift or hostility at other times. On Veterans Day we seem able to put aside some of the bad feelings between differing factions and focus our attention on honoring and saying “Thank you” to our veterans. We are able to do that, in one sense, due to our unifier, the Flag of the United States of America,” or as we’re wont to call her, “Old Glory.” Michael W. Smith has written and sung a beautiful song to remind us that “just when we think it’s over, just when we think the fight is gone, someone will risk his life to raise her. There she stands.” The Iwo Jima memorial gives us chills and is an example of those very words. On September 11, 2011, our hopes were dashed...” When the night seems to say all hope is lost, gone away. But I know I’m not alone... by the light she stands. There she waves, faithful friend, shimmering stars, westward wind... show the way... carry me... To the place She stands.” She was not shimmering on that day, in fact, was tattered, but with the help of first responders, she arose out of the ashes.

When we honor our flag, we honor our veterans, because, without them, she would not be flying, she would not be the symbol of hope and downright gratitude she has become. So on those special days of patriotism we will continue to fly our flags, we will think how lucky we are to live in a country where flying the flag and pledging allegiance to our flag and country does not mean that we give up our freedom to worship as we please, to enjoy certain rights, to differ in our political beliefs, and to enjoy the right to better ourselves.

On Veterans Day I will put my hand over my heart and say, “Thank you, veterans, for all you’ve given.”

*Song title by Michael W. Smith.

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