In 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month and at precisely 11 o'clock, the guns of the first World War fell silent. The Great (and terrible) War had abruptly ended, and people all over the globe celebrated. It became known as "the war to end all wars." History, however, would sadly come to understand that this Armistice would not, in fact, end the human conflict known as war.
On each Nov. 11, Americans honor this day and our ever-expanding roll call of military veterans. It is fitting and proper that we do this, for we indeed have much to be thankful for. Our American democracy has successfully endured for the past 233 years, and people throughout the free world pray that our country continues to grow and prosper. In fact, we are the world's last best hope for global harmony, moral justice and a lasting peace.
Unfortunately, today we are living through another desperate conflict. Many of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are facing down a dangerous and capable foe. They serve so that we might safely live and prosper. They serve to protect us and our precious children from harm. They are our sons and daughters, and they represent the best our country has to offer. We seek to support them in their crowded hours of battle, and beyond. We shall not fail them and we shall never forget them. And we will always seek to honor and cherish their loving memory.
As this seemingly unending war on terror continues to drag on, it will require us to find innovative ways of sustaining and supporting our solders, their families and their children. And when they return from battle, we will need to find fresh ways to minister to their needs, for they will unquestionably need our ardent reassurance and understanding.
It will be our sacred duty to assist them in rebuilding and readjusting to the life they have fought for and now so richly deserve to enjoy. In fact, helping our returning veterans to normalcy may be the principal challenge we face. We must seek to help bind their wounds and soothe their battered spirits.
We Americans are noted for our compassion. So now, let us commit ourselves to the timeless art of healing. Let's both honor our veterans and search for ways to minister to their thirsting souls. We owe them that.
Bob Loring is a resident of Zephyrhills.