Episcopal Church of New HampshireNovember 11, 2014

Dear friends,


Each year the National Observance of Veterans Day falls on the Church's celebration of Martin of Tours, a fourth century veteran of the Roman army who offered his soldier's cloak to a poor man who asked him for alms. The poor man was later revealed to be the Risen Christ. Both observances, Veterans' Day and St. Martin's Day falling on the same day, present opportunity for us to give thanks for the service of those men and women who have made substantial sacrifices for the cause of freedom, compassion, justice, and lasting peace.


Many veterans have returned to their native land with a nation ungrateful or unwilling to express their appreciation for the losses and trauma borne as a result of combat. We give thanks to God for all men and women whose duty in the military has been a model of exemplary service for the common good and has enhanced and protected the liberties that we now enjoy, though often we squander or take them for granted. May we be worthy of their commitment to serve with honor and civility. It is a small, good thing to thank a service man or woman you see in the airport or train station,  at the mall, or on the street, and I commend the practice of that simple gesture to you. Such acts of kindness are a peacemaking in their own right, just as Martin's action to the stranger was.


Now, as our nation once again takes a lead to establish the conditions for liberty and peace in the Middle East, we pray for our service men and women and all who support them at home and abroad. May the same spirit of service for others that guided blessed Martin of Tours, guide them in the ways of righteousness, courage, faith, and ultimately, peace in our time. I offer this prayer, adapted from a prayer composed during World War I, the war that was hoped to end all wars. Thought that hope was dashed, our appeal to God is unrelenting.


O Lord God Almighty, who from thy throne dost behold all the dwellers upon the earth: Look down with pity upon those on whom have fallen the miseries of war. Cleanse both us and our enemies of hatred; have compassion on the wounded and dying; comfort the broken-hearted; assuage the madness of the nations; guide our rulers; make wars to cease; give peace in our time, O Lord. We ask it in the name of him who is the Prince of Peace, even thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.



Faithfully Yours in the Risen Christ,