Dean’s Letter: Veterans Day

Hello St. Paul’s,

Today is Veterans’ Day, when we give thanks for those who have served in the armed forces and are still with us (as distinct from Memorial Day, when we remember the fallen). Tonight’s courtyard service will focus on those who have served, and we will pray a new litany for veterans and those who care for them. On Sunday we will celebrate our first live Evensong since March 2020, with our traditional Veterans and Armed Forces service. It won’t be as loud or elaborate as past Armed Forces Evensongs, as we have not yet brought back our full choir. The service will be beautiful and reverent as always, and the Bishop will preach; but the musical repertoire will be more suited to a small ensemble.

I recently walked around the cathedral looking for a war memorial or something honoring our veterans, and all I found were a few memorial plaques with USN or USMC after the names of those memorialized. Perhaps there was once something honoring our military, but if so it is currently in storage. I find it striking that a cathedral in a navy city doesn’t have a permanent military memorial.

In recent years we have all learned a great deal about the challenges that face veterans after they leave active duty. Rates of unemployment, mental illness, addiction, and homelessness are all higher for vets than for the civilian population. A significant number of our Showers of Blessings clients are vets. Many vets have suffered a traumatic brain injury, an often invisible wound, that can significantly interfere with normal functioning. I am grateful for our FOMOS ministry that works with veterans and helps them to tell their stories. We have just added a field to the personal information section of our Realm membership database, where you can indicate if you currently serve or have served in a branch of the military. Having that information will help us to reach out and honor all our veterans.

When we build our outreach center, I hope we will remember that many of those who will benefit from it will be veterans. There may be ways we can acknowledge their sacrifice or provide additional services. Meanwhile, in this season of saints, as you remember those who have gone beyond the veil, take a moment to think about and pray for those who are still with us, but are scarred in many ways by their experiences. Thank you to all our veterans and active military; we are proud of you.

See you on Sunday – or maybe tonight.

Your sister in Christ,
Penny

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2 thoughts on “Dean’s Letter: Veterans Day”

  1. I am grateful for the Cathedral’s response to veterans who were damaged in various ways by their service in the US armed forces, but I would like to speak for those of us who lived those years of service and came out of them unscathed. I for one benefited from my service in a number of ways including the GI bill which helped fund my education through much of graduate school, and currently provides me with alternative medical care should I need it. I agree that there ought to be some sort of plaque in the Cathedral that recognizes our service. Perhaps, as you suggest, once our new space opens in the tower, such a plaque could be put up.

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