November 11: Armistice Day Service (1925)

November 11 is Veterans Day, an annual public holiday where the persons who served in the United States Armed Forces are honored. It was originally called Armistice Day and marked the end of World War I. Major hostilities of the war were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. With Epiphany’s strong connections to World War I, there were several commemorative services at its conclusion. Four days after the armistice, a Service of Thanksgiving took place. On November 11, 1925, a special Armistice Day service was held at the church, which featured the first use of a new processional cross, which is still in use today. The following description of the service appeared in the Parish Guide newsletter.

“It was most inspiring to see, on Wednesday evening, for the first time in the history of this Parish, at a regular service, the Epiphany Choir emerging from the Parish Hall, singing the Processional Hymn, preceded by the Cross! Thus commenced a service that will go down in the history of this Parish as one of the most brilliant ever held in Epiphany. Special music was rendered by the full choir, including the famous “Alleluia,” by Beethoven, Kipling’s “Recessional” and other appropriate numbers. Just before the Recessional Hymn, which was sung accompanied by trumpeters from the Army Band, every one stood at rigid attention, facing the Altar, while Mr. Torovksy rendered “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Rector delivered the sermon, taking for his text, “What mean ye by this service?” Briefly sketching the most important political, religious and military crusades of the ages, Dr. Phillips rounded out his sermon by referring to the greatest of all crusaders – Jesus on the Cross of Calvary, and His Mission of Peace. The Rector paid a glowing tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their all for their country. Those in the Chancel, beside the Rector, included the Bishop of Washington, the Rev. Mr. Brock (a priest of the Church of England who rendered distinguished service in the World War, for which he was decorated many times), and the Rev. Messrs. Bomberger, Miller and Bradley of our staff. Included in the congregation were the Ambassador of Spain, the Ambassador of Mexico, the Ministers of Norway, Greece, Haiti, Latvia and Egypt, with their staffs; representatives of the Embassies or Legations of Argentina, Salvador, Chile, Cuba, France, and Poland.”

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