The Wild Hunt has posted an article about Pagans and Veterans’ Day here. I hope that all our Pagan and Polytheistic service men and women are remembered, cherished, and honored not just on this day but every day. They are living their commitment to their communities, their Gods, their ideals in a way that all too often comes with terrible cost. The Wild Hunt article mentions that there was a time when many Pagan groups would not accept active military and….I am both sickened and horrified by this. It is time that we as a community of religions learned the grace of embracing our Veterans and our active duty personnel and saying “thank you.”
Fortunately things have changed within our communities, within the Pagan community too: we do the best we can, as the saying goes, and as we learn better, we do better. Hopefully we have learned to honor our Vets.
As an aside, I was always taught that Veterans day and/or Remembrance Day began as Armistice Day and is celebrated on Nov. 11 because that was the day of the Armistice marking the end of WWI. This war devastated a continent and in may respects destroyed a generation. It changed everything. It was a crucible unlike anything the world had experienced and certainly unlike anything the soldiers involved expected. It also set the stage for WWII. General George Patton, US four star general and a godsend during this latter war predicted just that. His birthday, btw, falls also, ironically today. May he be hailed. I was discussing these two wars with someone recently and I said we were lucky. For WWII we had the leaders we needed (whatever else their faults, they were who we needed in those positions at that time): Roosevelt, Churchill, even Stalin (butcher that he was. Nicholas II could never have held out against the Nazis or mounted such fierce counter attack) and we had men in the field like Patton (pity the allies didn’t listen to him sooner). We were lucky. I can’t help but think as we tumble toward another war of that devastating magnitude that we will not be so lucky again.
Today I light candles and pour out offerings to the military dead in general and my military dead in particular. On my maternal side I have veterans going back through the Revolutionary War and on my father’s side, I have a great uncle who fought in WWI and a father who fought in WWII and Korea. May they and all the men and women like them be honored and remembered; and for those veterans who have died, or who never made it home (physically or in some cases emotionally), may they find joy with their ancestors and a well deserved rest. Hail them.