Central to the life of the Christian is the virtue of gratitude. Throughout the Scriptures we see a ceaseless charge to be grateful and offer thanksgiving as a measure of our faithfulness. The word for gratitude in Greek is Eucharistia which is the root for Eucharist; the most important of our sacraments is therefore an act of gratitude. It is in this same spirit that we, as a university, practice this virtue by extending our thankfulness to those who have served and are serving in our Armed Forces on November 11. And there is certainly a great deal to be thankful for, as over the years our troops have ceaselessly answered the calls of a restless nation to respond to whatever the demand was, foreign or domestic.
Certainly, a great deal has changed in terms of the demands that have been placed upon our service members since the instituting of Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. Yet from the battlefields of Europe to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic response, men and women in uniform continued to adapt and respond in the defense of this republic. Whenever there was a challenge to be faced, there was never a doubt in this nation’s history that we could call upon those select few who served. Our veterans have routinely demonstrated the true qualities of civic duty and even of our Christian faith: courage, sacrifice, obedience, humility and even vulnerability. It is to them that we dedicate this day, not in the belief that a single day could truly express our thanks but that this day allows us to take stock of what we love and remember the cost of protecting it.
Therefore, as a university community we rededicate ourselves to the act of gratitude by remembering those who have served as well as those who currently do so. This is a day where we take pride in our nation — its values, its progress, and its hope for the future — by honoring those who have defended it. Yet it is also a time for somber reflection as we remember the sacrifices that have been borne throughout the years by our troops and their families. Lastly let it be a day of prayer for peace, where the devastation and strife of war and conflict will dissipate and all of creation will be made new. Until then, our hope is that Palm Beach Atlantic University is, and will continue to be, a place where the educational and spiritual needs of our military community will be met. Happy Veterans Day, in honor of those who have sacrificed in order to, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “refresh the precious tree of liberty.”
“These have dared bear the torches of sacrifice and service. Their bodies return to dust but their work liveth for evermore. Let us strive on to do all which may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”- Edmond Amateis
Aaron Mejias is PBA’s military student liaison counselor and a combat communicator in the Air National Guard. He is a recruiter and advisor for any PBA student who is a veteran, who is currently serving in the military, or who is enrolled in PBA’s ROTC program. A PBA alumnus, Mejias earned degrees in politics and history with honors in 2017. Contact him at Aaron_Mejias@pba.edu to learn more about how PBA serves military students and their families.