The Rev. Tom Thomas welcomed guests including members of American Legion Allen O. Delke Post 16 to the Nov. 14 service at Union United Church of Christ, Neffs. Looking forward to God's peace, Thomas read from Isaiah for the children's sermon: "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock"
"The wolves in our lives, the lambs in our lives might one day be friends," he said.
The words of the litany said that Memorial Day is to remember those veterans who died but Veterans Day is for both the living and the dead. It was followed by a prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick during World War II. "Gracious God, we give thanks for the strength of character, the capacity for sacrifice, the courage, the forgetfulness of self and the loyalty, even unto death demonstrated by these veterans."
The lay reader, Curtis Frantz, is himself a veteran and read from Isaiah.
For the sermon, Pastor Thomas told about the Tuskegee airmen, a group of black soldiers in World War II. Imagine being an African American veteran in the 1940s or 1950. They achieved a lot through their skill but when they returned they still had children in segregated schools. They had no political power to bring change. In 1963, 2,000 young people came out of church prepared to march. The line stretched five city blocks.
They marched up to the police line with its dogs and fire hoses. Instead of trying to force their way through, they prayed. When the march moved ahead again the police stepped back clearing a path.
God had promised a new world and they were willing to walk with God to that new world that was being created.
Thomas said today Americans seem to want to withdraw. They fear terror, climate change, the nation's change.
"We live in fear instead of addressing new challenges. God will make enemies friends. He will liberate the world from its bondage, he said."
Dennis Ziegler, chairman of the Memorial and Veterans day programs for the Legion, said they were commemorating the service of all veterans of all wars.
"We remember how men and women set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their nation's cause, defending the freedom of mankind and preserving our precious American heritage," said Ziegler. He added that they were better warriors because they fought with their minds and hearts as well as their bodies.
After military service was concluded they endeavored in behalf of an honorable world peace with a feeling of gratitude to God and to the men and women who gave their lives. In a continuing quest for world peace they learned purpose, sacrifice, tolerance, bravery and discipline.
"In peace we shall go forward together to scale new heights of achievement in unity of purpose, in sacrifice for the common good, in tolerance for those of different faiths and creeds, in bravery to fight for social and economic gains and in the discipline of good citizenship. We shall move forward in the sight of God as a strong nation in a peaceful world."
He said the Neffs cemetery has 361 veterans buried there and "we thank them for their service." A list of 83 living and dead veterans who belonged to the church was included in the bulletin.
With one person reading the name of a Legionnaire who died between Veterans Day 2009 and 2010, a second person placed a poppy in the wreath at the front of the church.
From the ranks of the Legion Riders was Arthur Reitz.
Members of the Legion Auxiliary were read by Commander Gordon Giannotti and the poppies were placed by Auxiliary President Marcy Knappenberger. They were Helen Ritter-Creyer, Elaine Edwards, Anna Louise Harry and Marie Scheffler.
Knappenberger read the names of the veterans and poppies were added to the wreath by Giannotti for Meritt Anthony, Peter Donello, Harold Dorshimer, Ernest Evans, William Fister Sr., Clifford Edwards, Bruce Geiger, Harold Henry, John Kern, Donald Mack, Charles Masiar, Morris Moditch, Ernest Redline, Harold Rehrig, Robert Rowlands, Angelo Scarselletti, Mark Shiffert, Frederick Snyder, Herman Snyder, Donald Trainer and James Zellner.
The service concluded with "A Song of Peace."