A Salute to Veterans

This past weekend was a moving time for me. It all began on Saturday as I heard some of the history of Veteran’s Day. It began, of course, with the Armistice Day of World War I. That war ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 AM. When I heard that I told my wife Martha how that should be especially significant to her.

I knew Martha’s great uncle in our community. He farmed and often came to my father’s farming business. At that point he was quite old. It was not until I became part of Martha’s family that I learned more about him. He was a Dough Boy in WWI and served under General John J. Pershing. One of our prized possessions is his personal New Testament that he carried in his shirt pocked all through the war. He was a man of faith who trusted God for all of life. I look back on him with fondness and appreciation.

After thinking of Elmer Layton, I thought of John Olen Strange, my mentor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, who served as a chaplain with the Marines on bloody Guadalcanal, a battle which proved to be the turning point in the Pacific war. Though he served in one of the worst and most significant conflicts in history, I never heard him speak of it. He served faithfully as a chaplain and faithfully as he returned to make a huge impact on my life and Christian ministry.

Martha and I also thought of her nephew Tyler Proctor, who died in Afghanistan. His family paid such a dear price for the cause of freedom and safety in the United States.

This week should be a time for thankfulness for those who served and a renewed desire to serve the Prince of Peace. Only as His kingdom comes will we know peace.

With the Psalmist, let us invite the nations to know Him: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! . . . Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his . . . For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:1-5).




  1. Mark Graham
    Nov 13, 2018

    My Uncle Dwight Graham walked ashore on Omaha Beach, D-Day. He told me as he walked past dead soldiers he saw a church burning on the hill above him. It seems metaphorical to me. Whenever people are killing each other, the Church, the body of Christ Who commands us to love each other, is burning in some fashion.

  2. Charles Wesley
    Nov 13, 2018

    I am so glad you mentioned Dr. John Olen Strange. I remember when you were Dr. Strange’s grader. However, I didn’t know about his service to our country as a chaplain with the Marines. His humility, skill as a teacher, and spiritual depth was an inspiration to all of his students. Now I am also thankful to God for Dr. Strange’s service to others as a Marine.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, — Colossians 1:9 (NIV)