The eleventh of November 2018 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. Here in New York City I commemorated the day first by participating with my National Society of the Daughters of the Revolution chapter in one of the largest Veteran’s Day parades in the country.
Second, I attended for the first time a special ceremony at St. Thomas Episcopal Church sometimes called “The Massing of the Colors” but the officially known as the 98th Annual Flag Service for the Patriotic and Historical Societies. Commemorating the anniversary was also incorporated into the service.
So far in my research I have not found any American ancestors who fought in World War I. My great-grandmother Emily Thomas Avenell had many family members left in England after immigrating to the United States. Among them was her half-brother Frank Bailey, who lost his life July 28, 1917 in the Battle of Messines in Western Flanders, Belgium.
I hope to learn more about him someday, like what he looked like, what he did before the war. Until then, I remember that he was here on this earth and that he sacrificed his life on the Western Front.
One of the call and response sections of the service at St. Thomas really stuck with me. The rector says: “Let us commit ourselves to responsible living and faithful service,” then asks:
Will you strive for all that makes for peace? Answer: We will.
Will you seek to heal the wounds of war? Answer: We will.
Will you work for a just future for all humanity? Answer: We will.