Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

This item is under category Society.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Society • Incredible Veteran’s Day!

I just returned from a Veteran’s Day Parade, one of the many throughout the United States. This one was held in Antioch, California, a river-front town in the northern part of the state. What a joy to see hundreds of patriotic Americans (in this liberal place) lining the sidewalks cheering on the veterans and military units traversing the main street of town, along with some of the newly elected politicians put into office by revolutionary voters in the most energized election in recent political history.

These newly elected politicians love America, strength of family and those in the service of our country. Indeed, 25 newly elected members of Congress are veterans, about half of the new house-representatives who will take their seats.

As the town clock struck 11, a spectacular helicopter fly-over brought cheers from the crowd as it roared down the parade route and back, so close that it absolutely skimmed the top of the trees as awed parade goers waved at a young soldier at a machine gun in the open side.  There was also a sea-gull flyover which received no response.

There were very talented, disciplined high school bands, veteran’s motorcycle groups, antique cars, old army vehicles, a marching veteran smartly dressed in a World War 1 uniform and an antique car with another man dressed as a WW1 soldier and a woman companion dressed in the clothing of that period.

As each honor guard passed carrying the America flag, my cap came off with the rest and a salute offered. At one point, tears rolled down my face as happens at every veterans or Memorial Day celebration, as I can’t help but think of the two young soldiers who died next to me during my time in service during the Korean conflict. That is something I will never forget.

At the end of the parade, the crowd moved down to the Marina where a “Battle of the (high school) Bands” took place. Leaders of the community spoke along with high school students with a special ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Monument located there.

Appreciation for veterans was shown by Pinky’s Klassy Kar Wash located on 18th Street in Antioch, by offering free, detailed car washes for veterans. Many vets showed up and those working there greeted and welcomed each one and detailed each car as though it was a personal privilege for them to do so. And the care they gave each car was superb!  I know I will certainly become a loyal customer, as they love vets and their prices are reasonable. Surprisingly so considering the thorough cleaning they do for your vehicle.

From there, a free lunch was given to all veterans at the VFW Hall on Fulton Shipyards Road hosted by former Mayor of Antioch, Mary Rocha and her husband who is a veteran. Restaurants offered free meals to veterans including Applebees.

This was an incredible Veteran’s Day which started last evening. In a special ceremony before the Mountain View Christian Center Intern Ministry Class,  five individuals were sworn in as military chaplains by Colonel Dennis Edmoneson US-V with rank and orders given by 1st Lieutenant Kevin Graves and presented by General Dan Helix U.S.-V. 

MVCC Chaplains sworn in include; Bill Phillips with rank of Captain, Michael Smith with rank of Sgt.E-5, Carleton Booker with rank of 1st Lieutenant and Linda Maxwell with rank of Staff Sergeant E-6. These newly installed military chaplains will study further to become Certified MVCC Chaplains with exception of Pastor Carleton Booker who is already a Certified MVCC Chaplain.

An outreach ministry to military personnel and veterans is in the process of being MVCC in Oakley, California. I believe the church can do much more for vets and in supporting veterans. There will be veterans in every congregation.

To these churches, wherever you are, don’t ever let me hear of any of you using your pulpit to preach against war and calling soldiers “murderers” as happened to a young soldier during the Korean conflict who went to a church in Kansas for an encouaging Word from The Lord while in basic training. That young soldier was….me.

As for me and my church….we will welcome, support and serve our veterans. Happy Veteran’s Day to all.




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