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I never understood the gravity of the words “Thank you for your service” until I began serving as a chaplain at a VA Medical Center about nine years ago. I could never have imagined that God would call me to ministry at the VA. Although several of my family members were/are veterans, their military service was not a big part of our family narrative or my frame of reference. I had generally aligned with a pacifist stance. In fact, I can remember crying as a 9-year-old when Operation Desert Storm formally began. I had not experienced our country being at war before and remember feelings of insecurity, grief and yearning for peace — feelings that I have felt many more times since then as conflicts and wars continue across the globe and our world has not yet fully experienced the peace of God’s reign.