Veteran’s Day — Holiday with a Price Tag

Published by Paul on

Recently, I traveled to Washington, DC with my son, Greg, to visit sites that would remind of us of this country’s greatness and past. Our path took us to Gettysburg, to the Capitol area where we were moved by the Lincoln Memorial, the Ford theatre where Lincoln was shot, and the WWII, Korean and Vietnam Memorials.  Both of us were in awe by the display of sacrifice that has formulated our history.  I was in the Army and Greg is currently a law enforcement officer dedicated to “protect and serve.”

At Ford Theater

At Ford Theater

Reinforced for both of us was the somber thought that “freedom was paid for and isn’t free.” Our visit to Gettysburg revealed a price tag of 58,000 battle casualties in 3 days (both Grey & Blue).  Pictured below, I am standing on Cemetery Hill with a Yankee soldier’s view of the battlefield.  Lincoln came to Gettysburg 5 months later in a speech with so much meaning and so few words.

On Cemetery Hill (Union)

On Cemetery Hill (Union)

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent,  a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all  men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any  nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a  great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a  final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might  live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not  hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have  consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will  little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.  It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work  which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here  dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead  we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure  of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in  vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government  of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”   (Author’s add on the bold)

For the first time I saw the importance of Lincoln’s word “dedicate” in our duty and responsibility as citizens. Earlier this month voters expressed need for a different direction as they do ever so often….an expression of America’s form of democracy formulated on Biblical principles.

We toured the Capitol and saw the Almighty’s hand on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence giving the people a voice in the future.  But the thousands buried in Arlington, Normandy and many states, if they could talk, would say, “Did you vote-are you dedicated to your country and fellow Americans — to honor my sacrifice for you?”  Not voting marginalizes the price so many have paid to allow our current life style and speaks to a lack of responsibility.

Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Thank a Veteran you know this week, and if a Veteran, thank you.






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Paul has worked with hundreds of individual clients from executives to recent college graduates related to career transition and life coaching. Paul holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology. He has written a book, How a Man Handles Conflict at Work. Paul founded (1991) the Career/Life Institute and provides coaching, organizational design and career transition serving clients ranging from large organizations to family owned enterprises. He served as a consultant to management teams, and had senior positions for Bank of America, Right Associates and CRISTA Ministries. His ministry outreach includes Poland, Romania, and 11 trips to Ethiopia. He volunteers for Congregations for the Homeless in Bellevue, WA.


Jody · November 11, 2014 at 5:09 am

Thank you, Paul, for sharing the Gettysburg Address today and for bringing to mind why I have this day off, and to thank the Veterans I know…and tomorrow we may read this as our prayer in class. 🙂

Debbie · November 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

Thanks Paul – for reminding us of the sacrifices of many. Having been raised in a military family (air force) – I’m thinking of my father all day today and the many experiences our family confronted in defending the USA. Everyone in the family was dedicated to supporting my Dad in his mission. My mother held down the fort of the family and we were alone – sometimes for months – not knowing where or what our father was going through. But we were blessed – in that he always came home. Also thinking especially, of those families who were not so fortunate over the years to have their loved ones return and sacrificed everything for our freedom.

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