Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.
This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.
1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day?
Our Sunday morning services included a memorial candle and the reading of the names of those who had died in the past year.
2. How about Veterans' Day?
Yes and no; it's one of the two Sundays a year we have a "men's choir" and we honor veterans quietly as part of the worship service. We do not have a special worship service, though.
3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break?
4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces?
Many. I think of my uncle, a Korean and Vietnam war vet (Navy) who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Ben's father, who served in the Army in the same conflict, my classmate Dallas, who is in Kuwait, and our friend Wyldth1ng, who is recovering from surgery for a combat injury. And my church is full of veterans of conflicts from WWII to present.
5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on?
I don't really. I'll be interested to hear what others do.