Today is dedicated to remembering all who have served in the military especially those who suffered in wartime. Stories and reflections from The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion follow:
The SF Gate, Hawai'i Insider, tells of Putting a (Nisei) Face on Bravery:
The island of Kauai, which hosted its annual Veterans Day parade on Saturday and will hold a graveside ceremony tomorrow (Nov. 11) at the veterans' cemetery in Hanapepe, also pays special tribute year-round to its Nisei veterans. Shortly after World War II, the Japanese American congregation at St. John's Church in Eleele gave a stained-glass window depicting St. George's slaying of the dragon as a memorial for the men of the 442nd who fell in battle -- and chose as a model a parishioner of Japanese descent. Below this Nisei St. George is an inscription from the Bible (Malachi 2:10): "Have we not all one Father? Have we not One God who created us?"
The Rev. Mary Lindquist, the rector of the Episcopal church, wrote me that she "loves the window," and finds the "sentiment and story behind the image very moving." Noting that the parishioner who served as its model passed away a few years ago, she added, "Every year there is a memorial service for those who lost their lives in the 100th battalion, and those who are still living attend and are honored for their service. Now there are only a few men left here on Kauai."
If you're visiting the Garden Island on a Tuesday or Wednesday (or if you call for an appointment on another day), you can stop by the Kauai Veterans Center for a peek in its small but poignant museum, which documents islanders' military service dating back to the Spanish-American War. It's been several years since I've visited, but the dozens of names of Nisei (and others born on this small island) killed far from home is still haunting.
Read more here
Missy Daniels, on Faith Streams
reports on commemorations in some Episcopal Churches:
... churches around the country will join national observances with the usual services and music to salute the armed forces and to recognize the sacrifices of those who bear the burden of America's wars.
But at some churches a quieter and much less visible acknowledgment of that military sacrifice has been going on for years now, week after week -- praying aloud by name at Sunday morning worship services for every soldier who has died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Rev. James L. Burns, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, says including the individual names of the war dead in the church's weekly prayers for the departed has been met with gratitude by all members of his congregation, whatever their political persuasion. Burns is a Navy veteran, the son of a World War II veteran, and the grandson of a veteran of the Spanish-American War. "Every generation gets its war," he says. "We are a species that seems incapable of living without war. War costs dearly, and we should stop and remember."
Many churches pray more generally for all members of the military and those "in harm's way," but naming the dead one by one, says the Rev. Morris K. Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky, powerfully reminds people what their country has asked the armed services to do. "Wars are started by the president and the Congress, not by the military," says Thompson, a Marine veteran. "They have just followed orders, and we remember them simply because of that -- they are following an order." One or two of his members complained that reading the names in the prayers somehow makes a politically charged statement, but Thompson says such prayer is not about politics. "It is a reminder of what we are doing. On behalf of every one of us, America has asked them to go to war. Agree with the war or not, we have asked them to go and fight a battle. The prayers are to remember their duty and sacrifice, and remembrance is an important type of theological reflection."
Some weeks, says Thompson, when thirty or forty names have been read, the effect has been especially profound. "It gets very quiet, and it does sink in, one name after another after another," he observes. By reading each name deliberately and intentionally, he adds, "we are giving to God what is God's, giving these people back to God, that they will continue to know God even in death."
In Washington, D.C. at St. James Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, in addition to its weekly prayers naming the military dead in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of the [4193 as of today] names of the military killed in the two current wars in the Middle East are read at a special evening prayer service on November 2, All Souls Day. The prayers took almost an hour last year, according to the Rev. Richard E. Downing, who says their significance is all-embracing. "It is like what the poet John Donne said about for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you. We are all a part of everybody else.
The Rev. James Bhawan writes in The Fiji Times
At the St. Simon and St. Jude Church, an Anglican Church in the Diocese of Oxfordshire, which is the closest to where I am currently staying, the service was simple yet poignant. This small community gathered to remember the men of the village who had made the ultimate sacrifice for King and country over the course of two world wars. Their names were read out by an Royal Air Force officer who had just returned from Afghanistan. Wives, children, grandchildren and neighbours gathered in this act of communal remembering. Preaching form the text of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), the Rev. Anne Hartley reflected on the sacrifices made for peace, righteousness and justice, as well as those whose lives are affected by conflict, grieving families, the persecuted and oppressed, the poor and hungry. She reminded us that the blessing given by Jesus ("Blessed are those...") is not just to be understood as some reward in heaven but as we pray for the Father's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as in heaven, we must look to the promise of this blessing in the present and work towards it.
This act of remembering and of sacrifice has put a frame around all the events of the past week. As President-elect Obama made his victory speech he paid a fitting tribute to all those who had sacrificed not just for his campaign but embodied the spirit of change in the generations past to make a dream a reality. Not just for African-Americans and civil rights champions but for anyone that dreams of the opportunity to make a difference in their country and perhaps the world.
The Scottish Episcopal Church
offers prayers and readings for Remembrance Day:
O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,
and those whose names we will never know.
Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this broken world,
and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm.
As we honour the past, may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope, now and for ever. Amen.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Chatham, NJ, writes at her TellingSecrets blog
about lessons from her father about war:
I couldn't possibly have understood - still can't possibly understand - the full cost of war, but I knew he had paid - and was continuing to pay - a heavy price for playing his part in The War that was supposed to have ended all wars. But didn't.
"War," he said again, "is a terrible thing."
He said it as fact and he said it as prayer.
I understood then, that some may have fought for freedom for all, but all may not ever again be fully free.
Pray for our Veterans on their Day.
Pray for peace in our time - and their's.
The Rev. Steve Rice, rector of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC offers the prayer
found in many places this day:
A Prayer for Veterans' Day
O Judge of the nations,
we remember before you with grateful hearts
the men and women of our country who in the day of decision
ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy.
Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land
share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines.
This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thanksgiving for Heroic Service, BCP 1979