Chaplain: Best to Honor Only Fallen on Memorial Day

455x251_jeff_savilleCHICAGO, IL (May 28, 2016) – Churches should not ask military veterans to “stand and be recognized” during worship services on Memorial Day Weekend, said Jeff Saville, a U.S. Navy chaplain and chairperson of the Covenant Chaplains Association.

“While some churches mean well, it is not really appropriate and actually awkward because we don’t want to diminish the meaning of the sacrifice made by those who were killed in action,” Saville said.

“The day to recognize all those who ever served in military uniform, whether they died in battle, or of old age, or are still living and perhaps on active or reserve duty is Veterans’ Day,” Saville said.

Still, churches are encouraged to pray for peace and the families of military personnel who have been killed in service.



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  • 1201 NE Trilein Dr.

    I appreciate the opinion by Chaplain Saville, however, I do not agree that it is inappropriate or awkward. There are so few opportunities in church settings to recognize patriotism any longer. We rarely sing a patriotic song in many churches. It is an opportunity to let others know that people have served our country. Death is the ultimate sacrifice, but not the only sacrifice. It is a sacrifice for service people to leave their families and defend out freedom. Several in my family have served in the military to help preserve our freedom. Yours is one person’s opinion. I have never heard this comment before and I’ve been around quite a few years.

  • Heard and understood. But when we start doing up definitions and restrictions we start to create problems. What is “in action?” Is it on active duty? In a war zone? During actual conflict? And where do we stop the restrictions? My understanding is that Memorial Day originally was to honor those who died in combat on the Union side in the Civil War. We’ve expanded it since then. Where do the expansions end, and who says so? Back in my childhood it was common practice to decorate the cemetery on Memorial Day in remembrance of everyone who has died; hence “Decoration Day.” I’m open to reasonable rules and regulations, but I need to know what they are in order to explain them to my congregation (in my case, a retirement community).

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