Today, Sunday, November 11, is Veterans Day, although the holiday will be officially observed on Monday, November 12. Today also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, when fighting ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the day we call Armistice Day.
On this day, we honor and give thanks for all those who served in the armed forces of the United States. My 91-year-old father, Gerry Hartzel, enlisted in the Merchant Marines at the end of World War II. He always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but an eye injury from a childhood sledding accident prevented him from realizing his dream.
My father served several years in the Merchant Marines on a Liberty ship as a radioman, hauling supplies and personnel across the ocean as part of the war effort. He especially remembers his experiences in Germany after the war ended, as he helped bring home troops and provide goods and materials for the reconstruction effort. Merchant mariners were given full veterans benefits in 1988.
I encourage you to take time today to remember and thank all of the veterans who have served their country on our behalf. At the same time, may we renew our own commitment to be peacemakers who seek to create a world where all people are able to live in harmony and become all that God created them to be.