This Sunday falling on November 11
th means a busy day at St Martin’s. November 11
th is Veterans Day, when a grateful nation honors past and present members of the armed services.
At the 11
th hour, on the 11
th day, in the 11
th month in 1918 the Armistice brought the First World War, the bloodiest global conflict in human history, finally to an end. November 11
th 1919 saw the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Throughout the interwar years the annual commemoration of the Armistice carried with it the hope that WWI had indeed, been the war to end all wars.
Following WWII, Armistice Day with its particular association to WWI was renamed Veterans Day in 1958. This shifted the emphasis away from a commemoration of the war dead to an honoring of the living, both those retired and those still serving. Memorial Day, an older commemoration dating back to the Civil War, thus became the day Americans honor their war dead.
Today, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa commemorate November 11th as Remembrance Day with its enduring symbol of the red poppy. All across Flanders (Northern France and Southern Belgium) a vista of red poppies blossomed amidst the war ravaged landscape. The Canadian poet, John McCrae memorialized this in his poem
In Flanders Fields
to Leonard Cohen’s moving recitation. Visit these two links to view Remembrance Day poppy installations: in
, and at
The Tower of London
, 2018 marks the
of the 1918 Armistice. At both 8 and 9:30 am services we will honor this anniversary with the theme and special readings for Remembrance. Lapel poppy stickers will be handed out, courtesy of the American Legion.
I mentioned it’s going to be a busy Sunday because November 11
th is also the commemoration of Martin, Bishop of Tours, who died 397. At 4:30 pm we will honor our patron with Choral Evensong followed by the annual parish feast. I am delighted that Rabbi Howard Voss Altman, Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth-El, has agreed to be our guest preacher. Howard’s participation in our patronal festival continues as an expression of not simply the long friendship between St Martin’s and Temple Beth-El, but a continuance of the strong working relationship between Rabbi and Rector.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you in Church this Sunday, to commemorate both Remembrance and our beloved St Martin.