Yesterday both sons, the very nice girlfriend, and I attended a Veterans Day service at my mother's Assisted Living facility. The residents were arranged in a cluster of wheelchairs, dining chairs and walkers, some with aides, some with family members. We arrived fashionably late, which in their world is on time.
The new Activities Director led us in "God Bless America" via her phone connected to a portable speaker of poor quality plus she sang without a microphone, something my mother made remarks about several times. Most of us recited the following prayer that brought a few tears to my eyes:
We ask blessings on all who have served their country in the armed forces.
We ask for healing for the Veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe.
We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home
From Iraq with injured bodies and traumatized spirits.
Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray.
We ask for an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace,
As a way to honor all the Veterans of past wars.
Have mercy on all our Veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in.
Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts.
May their response to the call to serve continue in their lives in positive ways.
Give us all the creative decision to see a world grown weary with fighting.
Move towards affirming the life of every human being and so move beyond war.
Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer.
This was followed by a meditation, then a recording of Johnny Cash reading "That Ragged Old Flag". I whooped at the start and was given looks by the sons, to which I said, "I will only get worse, you know. No one else can hear me." This was followed by a politically slanted prayer which made me slightly angry. My anger was short-lived as we transitioned into "Taps".
Eight residents were named and recognized with branch of service, rank, and number of years served. For those brief moments, each Veteran came to life, the years falling away and they looked young, proud and full of patriotism.
"America the Beautiful" was next, a recording featuring an impossibly high soprano female voice that somehow detracted from the supposed sing along. Afterwards, a male performer sang mostly wartime songs in a cabaret manner while we were served light snacks and a red/white/blue cake with strawberry filling and inch-thick icing.
From me, a heartfelt thank you to all the Veterans on E2 as well as those people who have family members or loved ones who are currently active duty or have served our country.