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Music and the Spoken Word: 'Blessed are the peacemakers'

Today, Veterans Day is a celebration that honors veterans not just for what they have done in times of war, but also what they continue to do to promote the dream of peace.
Today, Veterans Day is a celebration that honors veterans not just for what they have done in times of war, but also what they continue to do to promote the dream of peace.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Nov. 6, 2016.

On Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 in the morning, warring nations agreed to an armistice — a truce — and World War I came to an end. Bombing and gunfire ceased, soldiers returned to their families and the war-scarred land rested and began to heal.

Years later, the 11th day of the 11th month became a national day of remembrance — Veterans Day, a day “dedicated to the cause of world peace” (see "History of Veterans Day" on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp). Yet it wasn’t long before, once again, the sounds of war would be heard and soldiers would be called upon to serve their country in defense of freedom.

Yes, history has taught us that the cause of peace needs more than one dedicated day per year. Today, Veterans Day is a celebration that honors the veterans not just for what they have done in times of war but also what they continue to do to promote the dream of peace.

Indeed, some of the world’s most courageous and effective peacemakers are our veterans — those who know firsthand the cost of war, because it is a cost they have paid personally.

To give just one example, not long after Veterans Day was first established, Congress chartered the American Legion as a patriotic veterans’ organization.

Today, the American Legion has grown from a small group of World War I veterans to an influential organization of nearly two and a half million. Through its programs and services, the Legion seeks “to preserve the memories” of the wars of the past, “to promote peace and good will on earth,” and “to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy" (see "Preamble to the Constitution," on the American Legion website at legion.org/preamble).

Such noble aims should inspire all of us — those who have served in the armed forces and those who have been blessed by their service — to dedicate ourselves to the cause of peace, not just on the 11th day of the 11th month, but always. We can remember with reverence and gratitude the sacrifices made in times of war. We can make peace in our families, in our communities and in our hearts. And we can teach the next generation to cherish the blessings of freedom that our veterans won for us. As we do, we will learn the truth of the words “Blessed are the peacemakers" (see Matthew 5:9).

Tuning in ...

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), mormontabernaclechoir.org and youtube.com/mormontabchoir. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MDT on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city atmusicandthespokenword.org/schedules.