• Today's Daily Devotion
Whatever Providence Brings
Whatever providence brings, I can claim to have found such meaning and satisfaction in my employ among all of you.

Whatever Providence Brings

Lt. Daniel Nichols, United States Navy Chaplain

A reservist goodbye email to his United States Department of Labor colleagues before joining Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003)

Whatever providence brings, I can claim to have found such meaning and satisfaction in my employ among all of you.

I am one of thousands. Just one among tens of thousands (reservists) called-up in the past weeks and months, and one of countless thousands for whom the oath we swore, to protect the United States Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic, takes on harsh new reality.

I follow in the steps of far greater men men and women sent from these shores to carry freedom’s torch to places where liberty’s light wanes dim. And when I return, I will bear a title I shall cherish more than any other I have yet attained: United States Veteran.

I suppose it is the right of those afforded such honor to offer a departing word, and if not, your forbearance is requested. You should know that we who go, and those who’ve gone before, are ordinary people. We do not share a single color of skin, an ethnic origin, or a common creed save that of leaving no fallen behind.

Beneath each helmet and uniform stands a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, or a friend. As a chaplain, I have shared in their common stories and walked beyond the thin line of bravado to see the human being beneath. But though these are ordinary people, they are not common. In my experience, I have seen no hereditary trait that presupposes a person toward bravery. And these are courageous people, not for staring death in the face, but for embracing duty when called and struggling forward against all odds for the sake of a few intangible values. Values such as liberty and human dignity, values without which life on earth would bear no worth at all.

I know that all of you will strive with diligence and dignity in your various tasks. There is but one thing I would request before trading my coat and tie for boots and a pack: honor the veterans among you and among the people you serve. Honor them not simply with a smile or a clap on the back, but with sensible policy and mindful execution of your duties. The cost of service to country is often very high and with lasting consequences for those who go and loved ones who remain.

I wish all of you tremendous success and look forward with hope to the privilege of serving with you again.


Thank you for those veterans who have served this nation.

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