Today is Veterans Day which celebrates the armistice signed on November 11, 1918 at 11:00 in the morning.
Unlike Memorial Day where we honor those who gave their lives for our country, today we honor those who served in the military and who are currently serving. As a nation we may never agree on the days in which we call upon our men and women to defend the values and rights that we all enjoy. Military members are not political operatives, they are following the orders given to them.
When I first became a Chaplain many years ago, soldiers were advised not to wear their uniforms when driving to and from the local National Guard armory. I can remember a few times when I was snubbed or inappropriate language bombs were hurled at me in a parking lot or while pumping gas. My father, also a reservist who saw active duty in both WWII and Korea, told stories of being spit at during the late 60s and early 70s. Later, I seldom had to pay for a cup of coffee in a gas station while in uniform.
The wounds that military veterans bring home following deployments are visible and invisible. The number of Veterans who are homeless and unemployed is shocking.
Now, we take time to recognize that being a member of the military is a choice and that such service is honorable. The uniform should be worn proudly and represents all of us as the individual defends what it means to be a US citizen.
This Sunday we will recognize our veterans at both services. This is an opportunity for you to say thank you to them. My homily might well include a story, but will not be a reflection about the recent election.
Veterans Day is an old a needed reminder that we all need to pray for peace.
We are awakened this day to a much more divided nation than wha t we thought. Some of our number will be extremely pleased and filled with the hope of change. Others are deeply saddened, not just by the result but by the deep crevasses between various segments of our society. As your pastor, I pray you will take this time to reflect about going forward. I would resist the temptation to discuss what has taken place with those who share your feelings and positions and those who do not. Such discussion may not lead to a peaceful result. Silence may be the most respectful alternative.
I would also encourage you all to pray and ask for God’s guidance as we must find ways to build bridges and harness goodness between all people. Division never brings out the best in anyone.
I pray this day that we may find ways to love and care for each other that we had not known before. I pray this day that we may discover within ourselves a reservoir of tolerance and an inexhaustible willingness to try, and try again to understand.
May our Lord continue to bless us, our new President and Vice-President, their familiesand our beloved nation in the days ahead.