Yesterday, America honored its veterans from coast to coast.

When I was a little boy, I remember seeing what seemed to me to be a lot of “old men” with funny hats at our parades — and soon I learned that these men (and women, too), were special.

They were part of the various branches of service who helped to preserve our freedom in this land we call the United States of America. Now, I am one of those ‘old men’ — a veteran of the Vietnam era having served in the 2nd Armored Division, most of my tour of duty right here at Fort Hood.

I think as a veteran and also a pastor, that it is good to remember and be proud of the military who all fight and serve under the same flag — the American flag.

Without them, we would have NO America — no freedom! The price of our freedom was very high and much blood was shed to make it possible.

I don’t know if many of the current generation of young people can begin to appreciate “sacrifice and duty” because if it is not something that they can get an ‘app’ for on their iPhone they are largely ignorant.

Watching Waters’ World and other on-the-campus or street interviews with our young generation reveals that most of them don’t even know the first thing about American history — even at the college level!

“Who did we fight to gain our independence? (an often asked question) and nearly no one interviewed knows the correct answer! One respondent asked, “Is this a trick question?” But these same people joined many of us at the voting booth this week, and their vote counts. It is a scary thought, isn’t it?

During my time in the Army, I was trained as a chaplain’s assistant.

I didn’t ask for this military occupational specialty, but I was ordered. I was on orders for Vietnam after basic training, but my orders were changed.

I was awarded a “Soldier of God” citation by the 2nd AD at the end of basic and sent to Fort Knox for chaplain’s assistant training.

Quite a surprise to me, but I guess my personal witness as a Christian must have gotten someone’s attention.

I share that little personal story for a reason. Our military is moving in a dangerous direction, as faith and especially Christian faith is being challenged as never before in our history.

The very idea of a soldier today receiving a “Solder of God” citation is unthinkable — today chaplains are disciplined or even demoted for being true to biblical principles in one-on-one counseling sessions.

God — the God of the Bible is being squeezed out of our military — and that must change if we are to survive as a nation.

As we remember our veterans, and as we look to the future, there is a lot hanging in the balance. I am proud to have served my country with honor and with Christian values. We need to pray for our nation as never before, lest we forget those who made our freedom possible.

“God Bless America” is more than a beautiful song; it is a plea from the hearts of millions in our country who are standing on Bible principles and humbly kneeling in prayer.

We are repenting for the sins of our nation and pleading for America to return to our roots before there is nothing left but memories.

The Rev. JOHN ABBEY is pastor of Bethel Church in Killeen.

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