Whether you know it as Veterans Day or Remembrance Day, it’s a reminder to pray for peace.
Posted in , Nov 6, 2018
Is it possible to have a prayer about buttons? One to mark the 100th anniversary (November 11, 2018) of a dreadful war’s end?
I was going through an old chest and found a treasure from 100 years ago. A little card on which four brass buttons were attached. In my grandmother’s handwriting it said: “Grampie’s Navy buttons, 1918.”
My grandfather was one of some four million Americans who were called up to fight in World War I.
He was not on the front lines in a muddy trench in France where the conflict was at its bloody worst, but served on a battleship in the Atlantic after doing a brief stint at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
In the Atlantic the enemy was underwater–the infamous German U-boats—or in battleships at sea. He was more fortunate than most, surviving unscathed. He would return home and unclip the brass buttons from his Navy jacket, to be saved for eternity.
Stateside, he was a proud member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But sadly he was to see what little good his war service had done for peace when his own son, my dad, was called up to serve on a submarine in the Pacific.
How precious to have those buttons as a remembrance of him. In England, November 11 is called Remembrance Day, a time when younger generations honor the service of their elders, especially those lost.
For it was on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, 100 years ago, that peace was declared between the warring powers. A peace that didn’t last. Alas.
In America, that day has become Veterans Day when we honor all of our veterans, but the message feels the same. We remember them for their service, then and now.
Maybe I should sew those buttons on to some blazer that I wear. But I like them on their little card with my grandmother’s handwriting. “Grampie’s Navy buttons, 1918.” It seems a strong reminder to pray for peace. Always. Everywhere.