This year’s Memorial Day Ceremony was special in that a new Memorial Monument Plaza was dedicated in addition to a new Civil War monument. James Earl Jones, a Pawling resident and veteran, read the Gettysburg Address as the new monument was revealed and dedicated. It was a moving and memorable moment. The prayer and blessing I offered was a revision of the one I prepared for last year but was unable to deliver due to some organizational confusion. It was a privilege and an honor to be able to deliver the prayer on this special day. The Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony is something that Pawling definitely gets right. It is the epitome of small town Americana and is profoundly reverent and moving and honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Gift of Your love poured out for us in the selfless sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. As we remember this day those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of Your Son. We thank You for those men and women who have laid down their lives in loving, selfless, sacrifice for us, for our nation, for our freedom, for our families, and for our children. They are an image, a reflection, and an extension of Your love, grace, mercy, and compassion for all people.
A life given in love is never given in vain. Help us to honor their sacrifice by cherishing the freedoms they died to preserve. Help all citizens of this great nation to sacrifice themselves in humble service to their neighbors, recognizing that all we have comes from Your gracious hand, and that we are but stewards and managers of Your boundless providence.
Grant our nation humble and faithful leaders who bear the sword You give them for the good of those under their charge and make this nation, under God, a beacon light of charity, mercy, hope, and peace for the world, that those dwelling in the darkness of sin and death may know true Peace in the Light of Your love, mercy, and forgiveness.
Hold our service men and women in Your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and presence as they stand in the gap for our protection. We also remember the families of our troops, and ask for Your unique blessings to fill their homes, and Your peace, provision and strength to fill their lives. May the members of our armed forces be filled with courage to face each day, and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support.
Finally, loving Father, bless this memorial, that all who gaze upon it and read the names inscribed here may know the love poured out for them in the sacrifices made by their brothers and sisters.
Redeeming Savior Jesus, bless this memorial that all who enjoy safety, comfort, peace, and freedom in this great nation may remember the blood shed to secure these gifts.
Sanctifying Spirit of God, bless this memorial, that your love, exemplified in those who have laid down their lives for us, would so abound in us, that all may know your love as they see it reflected in our love and service to our neighbor.
May the Peace of God that passes all understanding, that peace which the world can neither give nor take away, abide with us to bless us, this day, and even forever more.
In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.