“O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and glad accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”
-A Collect for Heroic Service, Book of Common Prayer p. 839
Today is the day we give thanks for all who have served our country in the military. With the restrictions of COVID-19, many of our traditional ways of thanking these men and women will be limited. For our city, Military City USA, we have a particularly large presence and awareness of military service. This service is not an abstraction when we regularly see people in uniform and pass multiple bases as we drive around town.
One of my earliest hospital calls was to Brooke Army Medical Center. If you have never been there, the size and scale of it will take your breath away. As I entered that first time, I saw countless patients who had served or were serving. The reality of sacrifice always has a human face and is worth pausing to remember. Many in our congregation have served and many volunteer in support of this military community.
Since moving here, I have also officiated at many burial services at Fort Sam Houston. I never fail to be moved when military honors are offered. As recently as this past Friday, I saw a family thanked with solemnity and dignity for their loved one’s service. I saw deeply committed veterans offering their time to honor another fallen soldier. At our Confirmation service this past Saturday, our Bishop offered prayers for one of our members who was about to deploy overseas the next day. It was an important reminder that not only members of the military, but their entire families deserve our thanks and support.
In times of political division, I believe it is important to step back and remember the gift of service that so many give to our country. They are from all political parties and walks of life and they choose to serve in many ways. Many carry heavy burdens as a result of their sacrifices. Our remembrance of their service is important not only for them, but for us. I invite you to take a moment today to give thanks for those who have served. Better yet, if you know a veteran, call them today and say thank you in person.