Today is a very special and unique day for at least two reasons. First, and most importantly, it is Veterans Day, and time when a grateful nation pauses to honor and offer thanks to those who have served, and those who are currently serving our country. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving in a few weeks, it is good for us to first pause and give thanks for the people who have helped make possible that for which we are grateful.
Today is also special because for “ones” in our lifetime the date contains six ones–11/11/11. This will not happen again for another one hundred years. There has been a great deal of hype around this special day. Some have predicted supernatural occurrences (I haven’t heard of anything along these lines happening yet) and others have connected today’s date with Mayan prophecies about the end of the world. Thousands of couples have chosen today to get married because they associate good luck with this date, and also probably because it will make it easy to remember their anniversary!
Here is how I would like to think about the uniqueness of this day. While the date, 11/11/11 will not occur again for one hundred years, the reality is that the uniqueness of this day will never occur again either. This is of course true about every day. Each moment of each day is unique in and of itself and will never present itself again, this is why it is so important that we learn to live “in the moment” and be “present” to all that each day uniquely contains and presents to us.
When I was pastoring a church I would sometimes say to the congregation, “This is a very special morning because this exact group of people gathered here today have never gathered together before, nor will they ever be together again.” This was true because of course every Sunday we had visitors, guests, as well as some members being present while others others were missing. That meant that each Sunday was its own unique gathering of people, never to be repeated again.
A veteran is someone who at a unique time in history either made, or continues to make, a courageous decision to serve their country. Each day that they served or serve, they continued or continue to make the decision anew to serve a purpose higher than themselves.
Our unique call may not be to serve our country in the military. But each unique day still holds a unique call for each of us to live fully into the moment of that day appreciating that the opportunities, and people that we interact with that day will never be there again in the exact same way and serving a purpose higher than ourselves. Today’s opportunities are unique to today. This day and this date will not occur again in our life time. The same is true about yesterday and tomorrow. The way we can honor our veterans today is to make our own unique decisions at this unique moment in our lives, serving a purpose higher than ourselves. And then we can honor them again tomorrow, and the day after that, by continuing to do the same thing, one day at time.