by Chuck Macri

November 11—Veterans Day. This was originally called Armistice Day in commemoration of the end of hostilities for World War I. The Armistice took place on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918, to end what was then known as the “War to End All Wars.” Sadly, our ancestors were too optimistic in their hopes that the horrors of that war would cause the nations of the world to never do battle again. In just over two decades, we would see another World War begin, followed by many more wars and conflicts across the world including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the War on Terrorism.

Throughout our history, the United States has been steadfast in the defense of freedom—for the citizens of our nation as well as for those of many, many nations around the world. There has never been a truer statement than the one that says, “Freedom is not free.” It has taken the blood, sweat, and tears of millions of our servicemen and women (and their families) who have paid the price by serving our nation. My father was a World War II veteran of the Marine Corps who was part of the assaults on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian and was also on Kwajalein and Eniwetok. He was proud of his service, never failing to stand whenever he heard the Marine Corps Hymn played, even at the end of old John Wayne movie, Sands of Iwo Jima, when it was on TV. Every Veterans Day he bought poppies from the local American Legion as a small way of honoring those who also served. It was a foregone conclusion after I was born that I would one day also serve, it was just a matter of which branch.

I count it an honor and a privilege to have served in the Air Force on active duty and in the reserves for almost 30 years and, if they were asked, I would expect the overwhelming majority of all the others who have served would agree with me. I’m also honored to serve at the Military Ministry of Cru where our vision is to build “Movements throughout the global military community so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.” Those willing to put their lives on the line for our country need to know of and embrace the eternal love of Christ.

It's our responsibility to pause one day each year in remembrance and gratitude for the veterans who have faithfully given of themselves in defense of freedom. With so many of our men and women in uniform today continuing to serve in harm’s way it should be something we do on a daily basis. Please join me in lifting up your prayers for the leadership of our nation, our military, and all of those serving today as well as those who have served in years past.

Chuck Macri, USAFR, (ret) serves as the Deputy Executive Director for Cru Military. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Colonel in June 2009 after 30 years active and reserve service. Chuck is also a licensed minister, and is an active member of Freedom Life Church in Hampton, VA. He and Karen, his beloved bride, have 5 children, a son and 4 daughters.