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Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson lives near the historic town of Kennesaw and he's a member of the Chattahoochee Guards Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is the author of the book "When America Stood for God, Family and Country."

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What does Veteran's Day Mean to You?   - Essay by Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

To me, it is a special time to remember our service men and women "living and dead" who for 230 years stood up in defense of this great nation. The liberty bell continues to ring because of people like: George Washington, Robert E. Lee, George S. Patton and the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

Saturday, November 11, 2006, is Veterans Day!

The movie "The Flags of our Fathers", depicting the Battle of Iwo Jima, touched me because my Uncle Lewis fought there. He was with the 1st Marine Division and by the grace of All-Mighty God came home to a joyful family. Lewis was named after his Great Grandfather Lewis Milton Griffith who served in the 39th Mississippi Regiment, Company B-CSA during the War Between the States. My family is proud of both these men.

On Veterans Day let us not forget that it was American Patriot Patrick Henry who said:

"It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by the religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Can you imagine what some people might say today about such a bold statement as this? There was a time when his words were the soul of our nation.

Let us remember that George Washington led his troops in prayer before they crossed the Delaware River on a cold-snowy night to surprise the British and Hessian Troops on December 26, 1776.

Our children should know of Andrew Jackson and a ragtag army who defeated the British in 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans. A young officer named Wade Hampton of South Carolina rode 750 miles in ten days to Columbia, South Carolina, and then to Washington, D.C. to tell President Madison and the country of the great victory.

We shall never forget that in March, 1836, a small group of men at the Alamo stood between Santa Anna's 5,000 man army and the unprepared small army of Sam Houston. In the lonely monastery of the Alamo were Davy Crocket, Jim Bowie and less than two hundred men under Colonel William Travis. Just days before Santa Anna's final assault, these men came into the Alamo, knowing they might die.

On their last night on earth the men of the Alamo prayed that their battle would, somehow, lead to victory even though they might not see it. A short time later at San Jacinto Houston defeated Santa Anna with the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo!"

Let we forget the men of the Confederacy and Union who fought four long-bloody years during the War Between the States, 1861- 1865. There have been many names but the United States Congress would officially name it "The War Between the States." Since the Spanish American War the Confederate Battle flag has been the blood brother of the Stars and Stripes as Southerners have taken their place at the front in all our nation's wars.

May we continue to remember that in February 1898, the American Battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor with nearly 300 dead. The Spanish-American War brought Teddy Roosevelt's "Roughriders" to Cuba to charge up San Juan Hill to victory. Old Joe Wheeler, a former Confederate Cavalry General, was there with him. Wheeler got excited and forgot which war he was in. He shouted, "There they are, go get those Yankees!"

In Greensboro, North Carolina a six year old girl named Mary Frances Barker awoke to the shouts of a boy far down the street. It was 5:00AM November 12, 1918. It was the paper boy shouting, "The war is over, the war is over!" World War I had finally come to an end on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month (November) of 1918.

The United States Congress proclaimed "Armistice Day" a year later on November 11, 1919.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the first word of the attack on Pearl Harbor came by radio. Newspapers did run "extras" that Sunday with little information and a lot of fear. That Sunday would become "a day of infamy." On Monday December 8th President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during a special session of Congress, spoke of the attack and asked Congress to declare war on Japan. His speech was broadcast on the radio.

F.D.R.'s closing words were: "With the abounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God!"

Since that time there was Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. We can not forget that we were attacked again on September 11, 2001.

Since World War II, we have seen prayer taken out of our schools and "Under God" under attack on the pledge of allegiance. Are we still a nation of God as we once were? With all that is happening in the world today, it seems to me that we may need God more then ever.

Armistice Day became "Veteran's Day" in 1954. Let's all remember men like: Ira Hayes, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley, Rene Gagnon, John Bradley and Harlon Block who placed the United States flag on top of Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Three of these men were later killed at Iwo Jima and the other three helped promote the sale of war bonds.

They say the soldier did not think of himself a hero; he believed the heroes were of the soldiers who died in battle.

Take a few minutes this Veteran's Day to thank a Veteran and light a candle for those serving our country around the world and in harms way.

We Will Never Forget!

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson lives near the historic town of Kennesaw, home of the locomotive "The General" from the War Between the States. He is the author of the book "When America Stood for God, Family and Country."His email is: cjohnson1861@bellsouth.net.

Related Links
A Veteran's Day Remembrance - Calvin Johnson

Lest We Forget Our Veterans - Calvin Johnson

Flags Memorialize Military Service - Steve Scroggins

A Veteran's Day Stroll at Arlington

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