Veterans Day

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I have had several requests to use the song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, as a hymn and a choral piece this year at the weekend liturgies since November 11th (Veterans Day) is a Sunday this year.

I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you.


A:  The Battle Hymn is included in some hymnals. Its lyrics are inspired by scripture. It can be used effectively. On the other hand, it stirs a militant spirit in some people, a mood that can be at odds with the Sunday eucharist. Its usage is a judgment call. I would not rule it out, but you will have controversy whether you exclude or include it in worship.

Overall, I think that it is appropriate to incorporate a remembrance of occasions like Veterans’ Day into the liturgy in some way. The most obvious vehicle for this is the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful), which entered the post-Vatican II mass precisely to provide a venue for local prayers. You can skillfully craft one or more intentions that will attract more universal appeal to the worshiping congregation than the Battle Hymn alone can do.