Veterans Day at Chrystal Bridges Museum
November 11, 2011, was a beautiful Friday in Bentonville, Arkansas. As I stood before a large crowd of dignitaries and citizens on the city square, I had the unparalleled pleasure of honoring our veterans at the grand opening ceremonies for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Alice Walton, of Wal-Mart fame and founder of the Museum, was on the front row. I could not help but think of November 11, 1918, when the “war to end all wars” ended in the armistice between the Allies (us) and Germany. We established Armistice Day in the USA to remember those who had fought to bring our victory to pass. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all those who have served and defended our great nation in every war that has cost American blood.
During World War I the King of England, George V, was visiting some of his wounded soldiers in the hospital. He came to one young soldier who had lost his arm in the fighting. King George said to the young man, “Son, I am sad about your injury, but I appreciate you losing your arm for your country.” The soldier looked back at his king, “Your Majesty, I didn’t lose my arm for my country. I gave my arm for my country!” With that thought we gratefully recognize the spirit of patriotism and heroism in all the men and women who have served our nation in the armed forces. We pay our deepest tribute to those who have paid the most costly price … in life, limb, and mind … and their families who have sacrifice with them! We highly honor those who never had to see the battle field, yet trained arduously and stood “ready to go!”
11/11/11 was a wonderful day to open a magnificent, new cultural center for our state and the nation. Yet, I was particularly impressed and grateful that the organizers of the event included a tribute to our veterans and their families! Those who have protected our country have made it possible for Crystal Bridges to bring to us all a spectacular collection of American art. It is but one small reminder of what our nation stands for, and what we must always fight to preserve. We see in this museum the dream of our Declaration and the freedom of our Constitution. All of us should create in our hearts a museum of our country’s great heritage
To see my presentation of comments and prayer, follow this link.