Posts Tagged ‘veterans day’


As I read the story of high school teacher, Martha Cothren, I kept thinking …

‘I’m gonna ‘snopes’ this, because it’s too good to be true’

So, when I finished, I did snopes it, and I truthorfiction’ed it and, guess what? It is REAL!

Although some accounts get the details not quite right (that is what happens when real stories are told, over and over), the core of the story is solid, true and such a great illustrative lesson. Rather than copy and paste the stories told by others, I’ll just give you my re-telling of the various accounts that I have read.

Martha Cothren is the daughter of a man who was a WW2 prisoner of war.

She taught high school History, in Little Rock, Arkansas at Robinson High School (she still teaches History there, according to the school website). On the first day of school, he students arrived to a classroom empty of desks.

As someone who works in a school, that could be a first day of school nightmare!

Ah, but Ms. Cothren had a lesson plan in mind … one that, I bet, that her students will not forget.

According to legend, Ms. Cothren told her students that they would need to guess what they could do to earn their desks.

The students offered responses such as:

– good grades
– good behavior

They did not find the answer to unlocking the key to earning their desks.

At some point, later in the day, presumably as the students were doing their school work on the floor of the classroom, their classroom door opened.

In came their desks, each carried by a veteran.

Then, with a classroom full of desks, high school students and veterans, Ms. Cothren told her class that they did not have to earn their desks, but that they were earned for them, by men and women such as those who carried them into their classroom.

Though this is not a Canadian story, it’s truth is as applicable here as the country from which it came.

What a great lesson! What a thoughtful teacher to make the sacrifice of others real for those who benefit from that sacrifice.

It is the story of John 15:13 :


It’s the story of true sacrifice, of true bravery, of true love. Giving so that others might have what you, yourself might not ever benefit from. It is what Christ did for all, and our acceptance of the sacrifice is not necessary for us to receive the benefits earned for us.

We cannot earn what we have, it has been bought with a greater price than anything we could ever do in this life.

as you read this today, on my Remembrance Day, and your Veterans Day, please know how very thankful I was to receive your email response. We will not forget!

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“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
See that you are not alarmed,
for this must take place,
but the end is not yet.”
Matthew 24:6

I do not know all that is involved in the meaning behind the passage above. Wars and rumors of wars have been taking place almost since Adam and Eve first ate of the fruit that they were instructed not to eat.

Today is Remembrance Day (Veterans Day, Armistice Day) a day that brings a watery-eyed stare to the eyes of veterans, a day for those of us living in peace and freedom an opportunity, not to glorify war, but to thank those who sacrificed for the gift of peace and freedom.

There is nothing like hearing the stories of freedom attained during WWII as the Canadian soldiers (and others) marched into Holland, or the stories of Jews who survived the Holocaust, because of the freedom attained through the lives of others, to push me to a cenotaph on November 11 … it is the least I could do.

Soldiers are not warmongers, they are men and women who are called to give … give their time, their youth, their will, and even their lives. They are fulfilling not a desire to kill, but a desire to prevent others from being killed, abused, demeaned, disrespected. They are fulfilling their job, as instructed to do so.

But it does not mean that those with whom they are enemies in wartime, are enemies in times of peace.

My family and I are blessed to see the redeeming work of God every Sunday, just by going to church. You see, the make up of our church is something that only God could do, and He has done it so well. On any given Sunday our sanctuary is filled with individuals from all over the world. And, in the pews sit many veterans … Canadian, German, and (until recent years) Russian … wartime enemies, peacetime friends.

I struggled with locating a ‘guest post’ for today. I so wanted something that would be meaningful, respectful, honoring.

So, in light of my earlier words about freedom, I want to introduce you to Neil Wilkenson, a British Gunner during the Falkland War, and Argentinean fighter pilot Mariano Velasco. During this war Neil shot Mariano’s plane down, and has been dealing with post traumatic demons ever since. In an effort to find inner peace, Neil wanted to find out what happened to the fighter pilot he shot down. This is the story of their reunion, and the freedom that was found by these wartime enemies.

In the words of Neil, “the welcome was everything I had thought of, no thoughts of hatred, nothing but pure admiration for each other and as former professionals we both understood it was our duty to carry out what we had against each other back in 1982.”

Another, more intensive link is here.


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