National Veterans’ Day 2020 was commemorated at the initiative of Interfaith Center of USA in collaboration with other faith-based organizations in the New York City area. Imam Muhammad Shahidullah, Founder of the Interfaith Center USA presided over the event which included a discussion and prayers for peace by prominent New York City interfaith leaders well known in the areas of interfaith dialogue and peace building such as Dr. Remi Alapo, Director of Institute for Peace and Leadership; Rev. Dr. Toshikazu Kenjitsu Nakagaki, President and Founder of the Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York; and Rev. Dr. Avaduta H. H. Jagat Guru Dileepji Maharaj, President of World Yoga Community.
Dr. Deleepji delivered the welcome remarks on Amistice andthe history of Veterans in the United States, and how the Veterans Day became a national holiday. He further discussed the need for everyone to recognize this day as a day of respect and service for those who have served this country often leaving behind friends and families and returning to find that their lives have a taken a new dimension in terms of a new search and meaning of service. Dr. Dileepji concluded with a prayer of gratitude for service, respect and recognition for all Veterans.
The program continued with Dr. Remi Alapo discussing on psycho social provisions for Veterans who may be experiencing any form of mental challenges and prayed for healing for individuals and families whose loved one may be affected. Her ultimate message was towards a world without war, and thanking Veterans for their service by prayed for a world where eventually individuals and families will not be affected by loss, grief or ailment associated with the cost of war and in one where everyone will dwell together in peace and unity as one family under God.
Finally, Dr. Nakagaki, discussed the issue of peace and having dialogue with the enemy before picking up arms and starting a war. The ultimate goal is to be able to love and engage in meaningful dialogue with the other side before thinking of the act of war which often leaves many people and nations in despair. He further went on to pray for a world without war, one in which enemies will become friends and one where nations will learn the to dialogue with one another before thinking of the act of war. In addition, he acknowledged the contributions of Veterans in establishing peace in many parts of the world which is often not talked about. The program concluded with invocations by Imam Shahidullah and him offering a message of thanks to Veterans both combatants and non combatants for their tireless service and contributions.