The core story is that, as a young man, Martin was a soldier. One day he encountered a beggar at a city gate. It was a freezing cold day and Martin, in a fit of compassion, took off his cloak, cut it in half and gave half to the beggar.
That night Martin dreamed that he saw Jesus wearing the half of his cloak, and heard Jesus saying that it had been given to him by Martin, a soldier and a non-Christian.
Shortly after, Martin was baptized and became a Christian.
As Kiefer writes, today being Veteran's Day in the U.S., and Armistice Day elsewhere:
"The Feast of Martin, a soldier who fought bravely and faithfully in the service of an
earthly sovereign, and then enlisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the
Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember thosewho have risked or lost their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace."