Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

Veterans Day Greeting 2020

October 30, 2020
Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

By: The Right Revered Carl Walter Wright

This year I bring Veterans Day Greetings to our students; to the Cathedral Community;  to the dioceses of our church, and  – especially in this pandemic year –  to our first responders;  and of course to our veterans foreign and domestic throughout the world. Greetings in the Lord!

I am Bishop Carl Wright, Episcopal Church Bishop for the Armed forces and Federal Ministries.  As you can see from my attire, bishops have a unique role. Of the many things we are called to do, I’d say the most important is the pastoral care of God’s people – or, in my case the pastoral care of our veterans. 

To put it another way, I am a shepherd. You may recall that in all the Latin languages the word for shepherd is pastor. I am called by God to be chief pastor, chief shepherd to our veterans, as it symbolized by this Shepherd’s Staff in my hand.  It makes me think of those wonderful words of King David in the 23rd psalm: “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!”

I am here to remind you that The Lord is our shepherd!

Now, on this day we recall that 100-plus years ago, when WWI had ended on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson made the call for a day to honour America’s veterans, saying it should be “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

On this day in 1938, on the Eve of WWII, Congress approved an Act making Veterans Day.

On this day, in 1954, President Dwight David Eisenhower made Veterans Day a national holiday.

And, I would  add that on this day we honour ALL veterans, the deceased and the living, the active and retired, all  who provide for the defence of this great nation, who at great cost and sacrifice, guarantee our freedoms and keep us safe.

Finally, let me say: this Veterans Day will go down in history not only because of the many fronts we are fighting on, but more so because of the corona-virus.

Yes, we are in the midst of this great tribulation of near biblical-proportions. But it is our veterans, and first responders and medical personnel and many more who have answered the call of the Good Shepherd and put their lives at risk for our sakes.  They are the ones we particularly honour this day!

So, as a shepherd of the Church, let me remind you that while we might be “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” right now, the LORD is our shepherd. The LORD is with us. And the Lord will keep us!

God’s Blessing upon our Veterans now and always.  Amen.

The Rev. Ann Ritonia

Bishop-elect for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

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