Thursday, November 13, 2014

Honoring our Vets

     This past weekend I recognized all of the Veterans and active members of our armed services who were present at Mass.  I had them stand and be acknowledged, and we shared our applause and prayers in gratitude for their service.  This was done in anticipation of this past Tuesday's Veterans Day.  It is such a little thing, and yet so necessary.  Following our 11:00 am Mass. a woman stopped and thanked me for doing the above.  She said that her husband, who was a veteran of the Marine Corps, was out of town on business and attended Mass elsewhere - where Veterans Day was not even mentioned yet alone having the veterans being acknowledged.  Again, it is such a little thing.   Again, it is so necessary.

     Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, to celebrate the armistice that ended the "war to end all wars", World War I.  The armistice took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  It was a deadly and devastating war.  This special day transformed into a way of acknowledging all veterans of all conflicts.  It is also known as Remembrance Day in many parts of the world.  It also falls on the feast of Saint Martin of Tours, a man who was a veteran of the Roman army before his encounter with Christ and his decision to be a "soldier of life and peace for Christ".

     I remember the selling of red paper poppies around this time of the year.  It was a way of raising funds for disabled vets and their families, especially in the aftermath of World War II.  The red poppy became the symbol of the sacrifices made because of the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.  Amid the white crosses of the dead in those fields in Flanders the red poppies provided a striking contrast and image.

     Last week I saw an article of an expression of thanks and a sobering yet inspiring reminder of the sacrifices made in WWI.  In London, in the moat surrounding the Tower of London, an exhibit of red ceramic poppies was placed  to honor the 882,000 + from Brittan and the Commonwealth nations who lost their lives in that war.  I have borrowed a picture from the news service that demonstrates the level of sacrifice - it is an awesome visual.


     May all who have laid down their lives for the good of all and who have served and sacrificed much in the horrors of war and conflict, know that we hold as sacred that level of sacrifice - for Jesus did the same for us for a peace that lasts, a peace rooted in his love for us.


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