Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, is an important time to honor the men and women who served our country with great courage and sacrifice. Originally called Armistice Day, the day commemorated the cease-fire between the Allied Forces and Germany toward the end of WWI. The armistice halted fighting on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Now, Veterans’ Day is celebrated nationally with parades, concerts, and family gatherings. The Cathedral will acknowledge and pray for the veterans of our parish during Mass.
Our very own Deacon Wayne Weiler served 22 years in the Air Force in administration and information management. His role was to support the panoply of units that he was assigned to by providing solid information to decision-makers in the unit that would affect the direction of their mission.
“I got to see a breadth of experiences and participated in a lot of different missions,” Deacon Wayne says. “This was the best part of my job — I had a lot of opportunities to interact with all sorts of Airmen on a wide variety of missions.”
Initially, Deacon Wayne was drawn to the service because of the values that he had grown up with — the values of respecting authority, serving others, and loving one’s country.
While in the Air Force, he grew in self-confidence and in virtue.
“Being an Airman gave me several opportunities that helped me recognize that I have something to offer,” Deacon Wayne says. “It opened my eyes to the fact that I had gifts that I could share for the betterment of others. It taught me that I could create further opportunities for myself that would help me grow.
“Serving instilled in me a sense of responsibility, commitment, and care for others,” he adds. “It also led me closer to God. Throughout my career, I relied heavily on my faith, especially when there were difficult decisions to be made. I was blessed by the military chaplains who were a great source of guidance and spiritual direction.”
Daily Mass and his devotion to St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, provided Deacon Wayne with a firm foundation for his life and work. It was even during his time in the service when he first felt the call to the diaconate.
By the time he had retired, he held the rank of Master Sergeant. Now a veteran, Veterans’ Day has many special meanings to Deacon Wayne.
“Veterans’ Day is a matter of paying tribute to those who made that commitment to serve something beyond themselves,” Deacon Wayne says. “It is a time when veterans can enjoy talking about the camaraderie that they experienced and remembering the people they served with.
“My unit was invited to a Veterans’ Day parade in St. Louis, which was an amazing experience,” he adds. “I was honored to witness the wonderful outpouring of support and gratitude.”
This Veterans’ Day is a great opportunity for us all to honor the veterans in our lives and parish. All are encouraged to go to Mass, pray for our veterans, and thank God for their service.