Martin was an unusual soldier- he was Christian. One cold day, Martin was on patrol, wrapped in his warm uniform cloak. At the city gates, he saw a half-naked beggar, and impulsively drew his sword, cut his cloak in half, and gave half to the beggar.
He went on to preach, to teach, and to bring the gospel to western France during the fourth century and was made Bishop. Known as Martin of Tours, he was honored for his kindness to the poor and oppressed and his tireless dedication to peace and justice. Nobles throughout Europe knew that if Bishop Martin came to call, any prisoners they held would have to be set free.
Bishop Martin served Christ in later life as he had served the emperor in his youth. Veterans Day–which marks Armistice Day, the day when the guns fell silent over northern France after the carnage we now know as World War I–falls on Martin’s day, November 11.
This excerpt is from “On Veterans Day we Honor an Advocate of Peace” by Audrey Novak Riley from the November 11, 2019, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today we commemorate Martin, Bishop of Tours, 397 and Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, teacher, 1855. Today is Veterans Day.
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