Walking the Path: My Interfaith Journey

A Pagan seminarian's perspective on faith, theology, and facilitating interfaith dialogue.

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Why I'm Conflicted About 9/11 Remembrance

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

I have mixed feelings about 9/11 remembrance every year on this date. 

Before anyone breaks out the torches and pitchforks, let me give some context...

I spent eight years serving in the U.S. military. Three of those years were spent performing military funeral honors in Arlington National Cemetery for members who had passed--a large majority of those being during Operations OIF and EIF as a direct result of the events following 9/11.

I am a hospital chaplain, specifically for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I have watched, seen, and been witness to what has happened to our country's most valuable resource--its people after we have been at war for over a decade. 

There is a large space in my heart for the patriotism that comes from serving one's country and being part of something greater than just myself. There is equal space in my heart for the questioning that is born from the actions of a government that repeatedly puts its own needs before that of the people, over and over, until the fabric of society is so affected that we can no longer deny its effects. I live in that tension every day. But especially on days like today. Especially on days like Veteran's Day, where I am thanked for my service. 

I will never forget the countless numbers of times I handed the flag to the next of kin. The look of pain in their eyes as I said the final words and saluted that flag. That is what I won't forget. I have reservations about perpetuating a slogan our government used to justify invading another sovereign country. This is why I do what I do, caring for the people who are irreparably damaged. They can't forget either.  

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My name is Vesper Andes (They/Them). I am a wife, mother, chaplain, educator, and mystic. I am an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, and my career has spanned network administration, funerary honors, chaplaincy, life coaching, and case management. I am currently a staff chaplain at Children’s Mercy of Kansas City. I enjoy facilitating interfaith dialogue and cultivating communities of conscience.


  • Waylon Breaux
    Waylon Breaux Sunday, 11 September 2016

    Thank you for your honesty in expressing what you feel on a day like today. I'm not upset with you for your opinion. These are the days that we need to be able to create that one bit of space between us and our emotions.

  • Charlotte Walker
    Charlotte Walker Tuesday, 13 September 2016

    Denora (love the name)

    Being a Navy brat and raised in the region with the highest concentration of military bases in the world, I have a whole world of understanding where you're coming from.

    Here's an article I thought you might find interesting:


    Blessings on your journey.

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