Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11: St. Martin of Tours and Veterans' Day

How appropriate that Veterans' Day, formerly known in the United States and still known in Europe as Armistice Day, should coincide with the feast of St. Martin of Tours, who began his career in heroic charity as a Roman soldier.  How appropriate, too, that the fratricidal slaughter of 1914-1918 should have drawn to a close during the month in which the Church remembers and prays for the dead.

This Veterans' Day -- the 93d anniversary of the formal end of hostilities in the First World War -- is doubly unique.  First, because of this date's once-in-a-lifetime calendrical configuration: the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of the 21st century.  Secondly, because 11/11/11 is the first Veterans' Day in history to be celebrated without American veterans of World War I.  The last surviving American veteran of that war, Frank Buckles, passed away on February 27th of this year.  There is now only one remaining known World War I veteran in the world: Florence Green, aged 110, who served in the Women's Royal Air Force.

V. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
R. And may perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

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