November 11, 2010

November 11 - A Day of Remembrance

Beginning in 1919, November 11 was known as Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of World War 1 on November 11, 1918 at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  In 1954, at the end of the Korean War, the name of the observance was changed to Veterans Day. It is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states.

For Anglicans and Roman Catholics, there is a coincidental but appropriate overlap with the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a saint famous for putting aside his life as a soldier and turning to the peace-filled life of a monk.

The poppy has become known as a popular symbol for the day because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War 1, their red color a reminder of the blood that was shed on the battlefield.

Some people choose to wear white poppies
to indicate a preference to look forward to peace
rather than backward at war.

Those who wear the white poppy have,
since their introduction in the nineteen twenties, expressed their desire for peaceful 
alternatives to military action.

This day, O God, we pray for peace.
We confess that individually we do not always agree on the ways that make for peace.
Some have sincerely offered themselves in military service as their way to work for peace.
Others have been critical of national armies that sought peace, but brought violence as well.
Guide us all, this day, we pray that your world in which we live might experience the blessing of peace.  Amen.