Veterans’ Day Invocation


Who came up with the notion that the best way to resolve our conflicts was to brutally murder each in a lethal bloodbath of vitriol?

Whose idea it was that the best way to rebuild toppled regimes was to further dismantle, demolish, and destroy them?

Who decided–however many years ago–that we’d uproot our freshest and most naïve, our buds in the springtimes of their lives and send them to a transient winter of dark obliteration?

What can we build on destruction? Who can we save by slaughter? Why must the youngest mature so quickly?

Even as each question goes unanswered, the scale of justice in our world tips over as our spite outweighs any desire to foster global synthesis. And so, there are necessities. Irony dictates that, in order to maintain the peace, we must maintain militant power – the power to do all the things we dread most, the things we don’t want to do.

And so, as long as hatred survives in this world – as long as vitriol maintains its reputable stature and violence remains the answer – someone must be called upon, and someone must rise to the grim occasion.

“Not I,” says the politician. Not my son, not my daughter.

“Not I,” says the businessman.

“Not I,” says the teacher.

“Not I,” says the activist.

“Not I,” says the pundit.

“Not I,” says the college-bound student.

But someone has to say “I.” We don’t draft. We don’t force. We don’t take.

And so, to those who say “I,” we hold you in the highest esteem. To those who act as our guardians at the gates of freedom, we trust and treasure you. To those whom we fight vicariously through, we are indebted to you. To those who wield their free-will alongside and in cohesion with their M16’s, we honor you, and we pray for you.

I pray for the mother whose son is born eighteen years before a war. I pray for the son whose mother is standing at attention, looking out into a godforsaken desert halfway across the world. I pray for the safety and security, physical, spiritual, and mental health of the people who do the most precarious work in the world.

But paramount above all else, I pray – I plead – to the holiest of holies, if anyone’s up there and if anyone’s listening, that the constant quake of brutality may cease, and that we are left with a world lacking violence and deprived of any need for the fathers, daughters, sons and mothers, sisters and brothers, cousins and uncles to walk the altar of combat; I pray that savagery may become obsolete.

Lighting a match in a cave of incessant fear and bringing glory to gloom, I pray for their well-being, and  that they may be sheltered by serenity, covered in a blanket of composure, and accompanied by the our innumerable brothers and sisters in a harmony of peace.

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4 thoughts on “Veterans’ Day Invocation

  1. Wow. Thank you.

    A powerful prayer for all of us, and a reminder to all those who would make war. Thank you also, soldiers and veterans.

  2. Once again I am overwhelmed by your passion, insight, clarity, logic and vision. I hope those prayers come true. And may some politicians see this blog and be moved to courage to say “let’s get out”–and then actually act. You point out that which is unfair and the meanness societies live with and which become larger and larger. May more and more thinkers also give voice to the horrors and lack of necessity of war.

  3. We maintain our freedom (and our rights to scream and yell about our government, and elect officials, and live as we wish to) because of the sacrifices and sense of duty of our armed forces. Thank you to all those men and women.

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