I don’t typically do many holiday posts, and when I do, they are about Christian holidays. However, later on today I am going to attend a Veterans Day ceremony in which my father, Howard Edmund Wile, will be honored for his service. He is 89 years old and was in the Navy during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was a turret gunner on a PV2 Harpoon and an aviation ordnanceman on four different aircraft carriers. He retired with the rank of Chief Petty Officer. This, of course, has made me think about Veterans Day and how important it is to remember those who have served. In honor of all veterans, I give you “A Nation’s Strength” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.