Veterans Day in Worship
This post asks the question: Is it Veterans Day, Veterans’ Day, or Veteran’s Day? It also points to a helpful reflection from the General Board of Discipleship site about observing Veterans Day in Worship.
First, I thought I would share that the proper grammar for this day is “Veterans Day” without an apostrophe. According to the website of the Department of Veterans Affairs, “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an “s” at the end of “veterans” because it is not a day that “belongs” to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.” I’m certain that I have been writing that incorrectly for years!
Secondly, I wanted to share that the General Board of Discipleship website has a page about Veterans Day and Worship. It is complete with the history of Veteran’s Day, suggested hymns, liturgy, and the following suggestions:
Some Suggested Guidelines for Observing Veterans’ Day in United Methodist Worship
- If churches are going to honor and give thanks for veterans, their observances should be in a context of prayer. In keeping with the guidance of our Book of Worship, #422, churches should not turn the entire service into a rehearsal of our national concerns. When we assemble for worship, it is as citizens of God’s kingdom in Jesus Christ, not as citizens ultimately subject to any nation. In worship, we celebrate the good news of God’s grace and love manifest in Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Lord and Savior of the world, in whom all the creation is redeemed and is to be restored for the glory of God.
- Where possible, since this is a celebration for the whole nation, and not for particular religious groups, special services relating to Veterans’ Day should be interfaith in nature, as far as that is possible. Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other religions have served in this nation’s armed forces. We dare not convey that the mission of the U.S. military is also the mission of the church.
- Prayers in such an interfaith service of worship should be inclusive, reflecting men and women, varied races and faith traditions. There are prayers in The Book of Worship and in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church that could be used or adapted.
- In keeping with the traditions of our nation since the early days of observing Armistice Day and Veterans’ Day, services are best held in a civic space or in a place in the cemetery where veterans are buried.
- How prominent should observance of Veterans’ Day (or any other national or civic observance) be in Lord’s Day worship? As a national and civic observance how does the Christian assembly keep a proper balance of attention to the worship of God and the national and civic agenda? Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the observance to remain primarily the domain of government and civic groups, with clergy and people participating in whatever capacity fits the situation.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the men and women who serve in harms way to protect liberty and freedom around the world.