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11-11-11 = A Day to Be Thankful

Today is Veteran's Day; it was previously known as Armistice Day. On November 11th, 1918 at 11am a cease fire fell into place, thus ending the First World War. One year later, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the federal holiday of Armistice Day, and all business commerce stopped for 2 minutes at 11am. In later years, following World War II, the federal holiday became known as Veteran's Day. It's an excellent thing for a country to honor those who have died to ensure freedom for it's citizens. It's also a good thing to remember the origin of this national holiday. By all means, as the wife of an Army officer, I am thankful that his service is remembered on this day. But as a homeschool mom who loves history, it's also important to me that we remember those who fought in the Great War, and who most immediately benefited at 11am on November 11, 1918.

All who have served in the defense of our country, since the days preceding the Revolutionary War through the long days and nights spent in the mountains of Afghanistan as of late, are to be honored today above all other days. They are heroes, and we are a grateful nation.

Having experienced the unique circumstances a family endures during a deployment, and having dealt first-hand with the negligent treatment wounded soldiers often receive when they sustain injuries, I would also like to say a few words about some other people who serve their country. Those who go are often unrecognized, and usually not thought of. The spouses and the children of deployed soldiers. (Let me add that I am sure siblings, fathers and mothers are probably also left feeling "unsupported" during deployments, but I have not been in the position of being mother to a soldier - I can't say exactly what that experience entails and so I've chosen not to talk about it in this post).

If my children could share one piece of wisdom with the "civilian world", it would be this: don't just ask them how their deployed parent is doing. Ask them how they are doing! In my husband's case, he received care packages, letters and emails almost daily that encouraged him while he was away. He knew he was being prayed for, and trust me, that is an invaluable ministry that means more than I could ever say. However, my children endured the lack of their father in our home (for the most part) from March 2005 until November 2007. (Due to a rear det job, followed by a 40 day deployment post Katrina, followed by a deployment as part of OIF/OEF, followed by a non-combat injury that nearly claimed my husband's life). During all that time, they were regularly asked how their dad was doing - and I don't think they can recall ever being asked if they were doing okay or if they would like someone to pray for them. Their advice is simple - if you know kids who have a deployed parent, please ask them how they are doing. Take an interest in their lives, too, and let them know that you understand it is a very difficult time for them.

The family of a soldier serves their country right along with the service member. But they do it in a much quieter, often forgotten manner. This Veteran's Day, thank a vet for serving our country. And thank their family, too - because when a soldier is deployed, the entire family is deployed.

And my personal thanks go out to my husband for his service (22+ years in the Army) - to all our dear friends who have served and continue to serve - to my grandfather for his service - and to my father for his time spent in the U.S. Army (he is buried at Black Hills National Memorial Cemetery, located near Sturgis, South Dakota).

Celebrate freedom today & remember our greatest freedom is in Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Day 130 done :)

Jan L. Burt


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