Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield: we give you thanks for the devotion and courage of all those who have offered military service for this country:
For those who have fought for freedom; for those who laid down their lives for others; for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body; for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need. On our behalf they have entered into danger, endured separation from those they love, labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.
Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war; encourage and heal those in hospitals or mending their wounds at home; guard those in any need or trouble; hold safely in your hands all military families; and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion and tranquil life at home;
Give to us, your people, grateful hearts and a united will to honor these men and women and hold them always in our love and our prayers; until your world is perfected in peace.
All this we ask through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
As you pause this day to give thanks for our veterans, past and present, take some time to familiarize yourself with the history of this day.
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.