A Prayer for Veterans

by Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, Chaplain, USN (Retired)

Almighty God, on this day in 1918,
—11th day, 11th month, 11th hour of that day—
we signed the armistice to end the war:
“the war to end all wars,”[1] we prayed.

But other wars would come
and many more would serve.
So Armistice Day—renamed, reborn—now Veterans Day[2]
to recognize, salute, all who answered duty’s call.

We know too well
there have been times
we did not honor those who honored us
through sacrifice and service
during times of deadly war and all-too-fragile peace.

Today we hope, we pray, that we have learned
to offer thanks,
to show support, respect, and gratitude
to veterans, their families, to those who serve today.

May we welcome home all those who serve,
with open arms, with grateful hearts,
and caring, healing hands;
taking time to hear their stories,
giving time to ease their pain,
knowing that some wounds of war will never fully heal.

Grant us strength, we pray, to keep our faith
that thanks to those we honor with our words and prayers today,
one day we’ll beat our swords to plowshares
and war will be no more.[3]
…and let us say,  amen.

[1] A term originating from a series of articles by H.G. Wells published in 1914, referring to what eventually came to be known as the First World War of 1914–1918. Find “The War to End War” (Wikipedia).

[2] Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 at the behest of a number of US Veterans organizations.  

[3]  Cf. Isaiah 2:4.

Service Section: Prayers of Remembrance 
Source: Open Siddur https://opensiddur.org/prayers/secular-calendar/united-states/veterans-day/a-prayer-for-veterans-day-by-rabbi-arnold-e-resnicoff-chaplain-usn-retired/