This Thursday, November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day. At this time, we remember our men and women who served in the military and who sacrificed so much through their dedicated commitment to our country. Many of our Veterans served in Viet Nam or some other foreign land, or here in the United States. Many others have recently returned home from tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, and have left active military service.
The Johns Creek Memorial Walk, located in Newtown Park, serves as a vivid and sobering reminder of the contributions to the defense of our nation made by our men and women in the armed forces throughout the years. Members of the Saint Brigid Knights of Columbus, many of whom are Veterans, assisted in the construction of the Memorial Walk.
The following “Veterans Day Prayer”, by Fr. Austin Fleming, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, reflects the spirit of this day:
God of peace, we pray for those who have served our nation, who laid down their lives to protect our freedom.
We pray for those who have fought, whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
and whose nights are haunted by memories too painful for the light of day.
We pray for those who serve us now, especially for those in harm’s way:
shield them from danger and bring them home, soon.
Turn the hearts and minds of our leaders and enemies to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Spare the poor, O God, spare the poor!
May the peace You left us, the peace You gave us,
be the peace that sustains, the peace that saves us.
Christ, Jesus, hear us! Christ, Jesus, hear our prayer! Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, we should also remember the great sacrifices made by military chaplains who are Veterans and who have faithfully served the spiritual needs of our men and women in the armed forces and their families. We also have loved ones who have served our country well and now have Veteran status. Whether our Veterans served at home or abroad, we should not allow their service to be ignored or minimized, or their sacrifice taken for granted. Through their unselfish service, they make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms provided in this nation.
We are encouraged to assure our chaplains, family members, relatives, friends, and neighbors who have unselfishly served our nation in the armed forces of our gratitude and our respect. As citizens of this nation, we truly appreciate their service.