Veterans Day

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“Let our love for one another be constant kindly disposed and humble, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

Today is Veterans Day, honoring all those who have served our country in war or peace. It began as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of WWI. A famous poem connected to this day is In Flanders Field. It is from this poem that Veterans Day became associated with red poppies, for there were red poppies growing over the graves of the soldiers who had died in this conflict.

November 11, 1918 was supposed to be the end of the “war to end all wars.” Other countries caught up in this same war, call November 11th Remembrance Day. Sadly, humanity would not give up war and young people from around this earth are every day recruited for war’s possibility. And our cemeteries are well populated with those who have died in wars.

There is something within human hearts that responds to the call of service. Young people around the world respond to their country’s call to protect and serve. I believe that God goes with each person even into war, and therefore, God is on all sides of every conflict, yearning for the war to cease. Governments need to use extreme care before they send willing hearts to kill one another, for God will hold these leaders accountable for every death and injury. For every soldier is God’s beloved one.

It would be wonderful if governments around this world developed departments of peace and poured at least as much money into peace efforts as they do into war efforts. It would be wonderful if conflicts could be resolved without violence.

My husband is buried in Tahoma National Cemetery, a cemetery for veterans. Today the cemetery will be filled with flags marking each and every grave. Since it is the only national cemetery in my state, there will be thousands of flags. It is quite the sight to see, and very moving. My husband was someone who had a strong call within himself toward service. He not only served in the Navy and then in the National Guard, but also served as a volunteer fire fighter and EMT.

Each one of us, every human being, is created in the image and likeness of God. There is something in us that know this is true. It is out of this goodness that the call to service arises. May this call to service not be abused by others, for it is easy to tap into the desire to serve. Great care should be taken when this service is a call to bear arms. Much harm can be done when goodness of heart is abused by those in power.

And those who answer the call to serve must be equally careful that they do not offer their service to those who would lead them into evil, for humanity has learned that “following orders” is not an excuse for doing evil. Each one of us is responsible for ourselves and our actions and this responsibility cannot be handed over to others, as if that makes us innocent. Today we honor those who answer that call to service on behalf of their country, and we bless them. May our country learn to care for them after they return home.

My beloved ones, may we learn the ways of peace and choose peace over war.

Bishop Kedda

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