Nov 11 - Feast of St. Martin of Tours

evought's picture

Incidentally, today, the 11th of November, is the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours (see also Wikipedia), the Catholic Saint represented by the forked tail of our banner. St. Martin was a Roman knight born in 316 AD, who is most known for cutting his rich cloak in two to clothe a naked beggar on the road outside of Amiens. That evening, he had a vision of Christ wrapped in his torn cloak, became baptised as a Christian, and was at turns a prominent soldier, monk, patron of the poor, peacemaker, and theologian. St. Martin's act, and the split-tail of our banner, symbolizes a calling to direct and personal service to the community and to the needy through leadership and personal sacrifice. The word 'chaplain' is actually directly related to Saint Martin's torn cape (cape->Italian 'cappela'->chapel->chaplain).
Saint Martin as a patron saint of soldiers is one of the reasons (aside from Armistice Day, which marked the end of WWI on 11 November 1918) we have Veteran's Day on 11 November. Martin of Tours, besides being a Roman knight and having fought at turns to defend his community, was also briefly imprisoned as a consciencious objector. Many people remember that our veterans sacrifice for our country, but they often forget that it is our politicians who determine whether that sacrifice was worthwhile, and in turn, our responsibility to make certain that we select leaders who will use our military ethically and responsibly.
As Manfred Rommel noted in the introduction to the 1990 edition of his father, Fieldmarshal Erwin Rommel's, book, "Infantry Attacks",

It is worth mentioning that all secondary virtues, such as bravery, discipline, loyalty, and perseverance only have validity so long as they are used in a good cause. When a positive cause becomes negative, these virtues become questionable. The German army had to experience this bitter truth during Hitler's regime...

In other words, if our soldiers are sacrificing for our nation, it is up to us to ensure that our nation is always worth sacrificing for. Otherwise, we fail every single person who has worn our nation's uniform and fought under our flag.
This fact is no less true with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Auxiliary: in order for our bravery, discipline, loyalty, and perserverance to be positive virtues, they must be grounded in service: in personal sacrifice, in restraint, mercy, and honor. The examples of Saint Martin, of the Knights of St. John of God, of Jerusalem and Malta (the Hospitallers--- who healed the sick and defended the innocent of all stripes), and of Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross, are particularly relevant guideposts to us in our journey.


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