Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
I have mentioned before that technology can be addictive, whether phone apps or social media platforms. So it is that I have become trained in the best Pavlovian tradition to seek out the newest information as soon as I wake in the morning. I know that I am the only one who instinctively reaches for the cell phone to see if anyone has sent me a message during the night. Nope, I'm not that important. But wait – the spam email will start shortly. Next is the weather. After all, the weather will significantly impact what I will be doing during the day, from working in the yard to shoveling snow. Who would have thought we would be seeing near 70 degrees in November? It was only six days ago that approximately a dozen local American Legion Post members were standing in formation to render military honors for a departed military veteran. What was noteworthy was the bright sun and downright uncomfortable heat. It is a little disconcerting to be standing at attention with sweat running down one's face and back. Of course, this should not have come as any real surprise as my weather app had told me it would be warm. It was only off by 10 degrees, and 10 degrees can make a lot of difference.
Fast forward only four short days. My app says that the day will be cloudy, with temperatures perhaps reaching as high as the freezing mark, and a distinct possibility of snow in the afternoon. The weather app
becomes essential as the day's activities call for standing outside for 2 ½ hours while assisting in a volunteer project. Well, this time, the app was half right. The temperature teased around freezing but never quite made it there. However, the anticipated afternoon snow did not occur. The snow, it seems, would not be denied, and it did snow that evening – upwards of six inches, and more in some areas. Veterans Day dawned with a new covering of white over the landscape. Usually, this is taken in stride, but
this was Veterans Day. There were outdoor activities planned for the day within the community.
The community may have noticed a long line of vehicles at the city cemetery in the Veterans Section. With military precision, honors were rendered on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Over 20
uniformed individuals solemnly remembered those in military service currently serving, those who had served, and those who had passed away. Several aspects of the ceremony were significant. First, the snow was not even a consideration for the task at hand. Secondly, a detachment of Air Force ROTC cadets from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, joined the veterans in paying respect-the old and new serving together. And finally, an older Legion member who, due to physical restrictions, could not hold a flag or bear a ceremonial rifle. However, when asked, he stated that he could still put on his uniform, stand at attention, and salute as his way to honor his fellow veterans. That is a memory that I will long remember.
An important historical dedication quickly followed that memorable event. A brand new flag pole dedication occurred at the Knife River Depot. A local family had provided for the flag pole and installation and the first flag to be raised on the pole. Again, significant observations were noted. Local community members came to observe the historic flag-raising. The American Legion Post Honor Guard was privileged to present military honors for the occasion. The event's importance was further highlighted by the significance of the dedication occurring on Veterans Day and that the cadets of the ROTC unit were permitted to be the first individuals to raise the first flag on the new flag pole. That is a memory they will always cherish.
Additionally, the rich heritage and legacy of Knife River were highlighted for its significant contributions to the local area and the nation during World War II. And finally, the entire proceeding was offered up to God
through prayer for his divine blessing. Yes, it was undoubtedly a Veterans Day to remember.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Psalm 33:20-22 (NIV)
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
May you be blessed by God’s word.