We took a moment to honor veterans in each of our worship services at Immanuel Lutheran this weekend. Pastor Warren Schilf, Immanuel's associate pastor, elaborates, and highlights one of Palatine's own, now...
Sacrifice. Honor. Gratitude. These are words that come to mind when thinking upon Veterans Day.
When I think of what great sacrifices our Veterans have given for the love of their country and for our freedoms, I feel inadequate… I can never thank them enough for what they have done for our nation. To honor them on this day is certainly magnificent. Especially nowadays it seems, rightly so, there is a greater awareness of being thankful to our veterans. Social media is filled with many beautiful pictures and phrases of people giving thanks for our veterans – just check Facebook and Twitter. Churches take time to recognize and thank veterans during worship. Police and fire departments begin the day by marching to the veterans memorial in town to take time to give thanks. Indeed, rightly so, there should be a great awareness throughout the people of this land to recognize the sacrifice that many have given for our benefit.
While today is a day filled with honor for our veterans, we should all remember to honor our veterans every day. They deserve honor among us all because of their dedication and faithfulness to our nation. Many of our WWII veterans are entering their 90’s and need to be remembered every day. Many have daily needs that go unmet. Many of our veterans don’t get the honor they are due. Many are quiet and humble in the way they go about their life. Many don’t look for accolades, but are thankful for the opportunities afforded them in their lives. Many will say the sacrifices they made have shaped them greatly in their lives. While it is good and right to honor them today, I encourage you to honor these fine folks every time you see them. Engage in conversation with them, help them with physical needs, get to know them, and perhaps learn something from them.
Speaking of honor, one of our very own Immanuel members, Harold Gohl, is being honored with many others today. He is a participant in the Honor Flight Recognition of Service event held in downstate Decatur, Illinois. His family surprised him with this and his daughter Jeane accompanied him on this very special flight to Washington D.C. As part of the honor flight experience, veterans received a bag of letters during the trip. Pastor Tom and I were honored to be able to write individual letters to Harold, thanking him for his service.
On Harold’s 18th birthday and day of graduation from Danville High School, he and his twin brother, Howard, signed up for the service in the Navy while still wearing their graduation gowns. He served in the Navy from August, 1943 to March 1946 as a Navy Phm 2nd class, pharmacist assistant, serving aboard the USS Jerauld during the invasion of Okinawa. He is now 87 years old. As Harold’s pastor, I never knew this about him. Harold is the epitome of humility and always very gracious.
Just as Pastor Tom and I expressed our gratitude to Harold, our gratitude extends also to the many Veterans who were recognized in this weekend’s worship services. We are honored to serve as your pastors. We are also grateful for all Veterans, and we remember with great fondness all that they gave to fight for the freedoms which we enjoy every day. We are forever grateful for the high cost that they paid to serve our nation. If you haven’t passed along some gratitude to a Veteran today, I encourage you to reach out to them with thanks. I would also invite our Immanuel Community to reach out to Harold Gohl by sending him a note of thanks for his service to our country. He might be a bit embarrassed by having me send this request, because he knows there are many more people like himself who deserve thanks. However you do it, simply reach out with a hand of gratitude to your neighbor, family member, or friend, and say thanks.
Want to know more about the Honor flight?
- From ABC News in Chicago: Chicago-Area Honor Flight
- From the Daily Herald: World War II Vets Want to See More Veterans Honored
God Bless Our Veterans,