I greet you in the Name of the Lord Jesus on this the 98th commemoration of “Veterans Day.” It used to be called “Armistice Day” in thanksgiving for the peace that was signed between the Allied and Axis powers. When President Woodrow Wilson made the second Armistice Day (11 November 1919) an official celebration, we were an optimistic people. The horribly tragic “War to End All Wars” had ended the previous year. Things were looking up. Americans had every right to expect that no civilized person would ever want to go to war again. Then, barely 20 years later, a deranged German army corporal, a veteran of that same war, set out to conquer the world and brought us into WWII. And so went the 20th century, arguably the most violent century ever.
Undoubtedly, those wars (and all subsequent ones) made us wonder what in the world can we trust. We were so hopeful that goodness and truth would come out of violence and evil; and it did not happen. Moreover, we are even now living through precarious and dangerous times – more dangerous than we have known for several generations – dangerous morally, socially, politically, etc. Upon reflection, our time bears a close resemblance to the inter-war years (1918-1938). We, too “have been through a great tribulation” (Revelation 7): ours was called the Vietnam conflict. Our whole society changed during and after the 1960s. Previous customs, values, and beliefs were all questioned or abandoned altogether.
These are times like those. Consensus has broken down. Fear is all around. There is an unspoken undercurrent of anxiety and uncertainty. We don’t know what the future holds.
But I ask you to join me in trusting in the true and living God, just as Job did, when he said, in the midst of great confusion, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19). Let us be hopeful that the good will always eventually win out. Our veterans deserve our respect because they are the guarantors of the freedoms we enjoy. Our veterans do the bidding of politicians and diplomats, who we pray have our best interests in mind. Veterans fight to preserve our constitutional rights. Veterans die so we can live. So, on this 98th commemoration of Veterans Day, let us give thanks to God for their service keep them in our prayers.
— The Rt. Rev. Carl Walter Wright is the bishop suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries.