Memorial Day

Memorial Day


Almighty God, today we offer our gratitude for all the men and women who have served their country in defense of freedom. For their sacrifice of time, talent and life, we pay them homage. Help all who have gathered here to remember those whose sense of dedication and patriotism led them to preserve the democratic way of life we enjoy. Enable us to follow their lead and do all that we can to further the cause of peace in the world. To this end we seek your blessing.  Amen.**


Almighty God we remember on this Memorial Day all your servants who have departed this life in the service of their country. We pray that having opened to them the gates of larger life, you will receive them more and more into your joyful service, that they may win with you and your servants everywhere the eternal victory. For us who are here, may the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. May the Lord lift his countenance upon us and give us peace now and forever more.


Father, we see our world with many faces--faces of peace and faces of war, faces of plenty and faces of want, faces of joy and faces of sadness. In times past, when the faces of courage and sacrifice were needed, we were blessed with men and women who offered their lives and did not doubt that it was right. Today, in this ceremony, we remember them. Help us, Lord, to show our gratitude by sharing the face of freedom with others. We can do no less for those who have done so much for us.  Amen.**


O God our strength and redeemer, by your leading our ancestors brought forth on this continent a great nation, born of faith and struggle, dedicated to liberty and freedom, characterized by justice and courage, and committed to promotion of the common good. A changing world continually challenges these time-honored values, proving the temper of their metal in American lives. In such moments, we seek your blessing, O Father. Enable us by your good spirit to grasp the future firmly. Guide us through the maze of temptations by lesser gods. Prosper each initiative for human freedom, for peace and justice in our land, and for the common good of our global village. Bless our speaker today, and each one present. Refresh us in eternal values, and inspire our hearts and lives to fulfill the potential you've placed in each one of us.  Amen.**


Father in heaven, this is no time to glory in war, but rather to remember and give thanks for those who have cherished freedom and liberty more than life. As we recall with thanksgiving the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who have lost their lives in defense of America, let us rededicate our lives to the ideals for which they paid the supreme price. Their legacy is our birthright and our responsibility. Help us so to perform the mission placed in our hands that generations yet unborn will continue to enjoy the freedoms we hold dear. Grant us skill, dedication, and courage for the daily tasks of maintaining the bright torch of liberty. By your grace and by your power, let us mount up as eagles - run and not grow weary - walk and not faint - that our land may ever exist in peace and security. In your holy name we pray.  Amen.**


O God, our Heavenly Father, you who would not willingly bring suffering to humanity, your creation; you have brought us to this place today, that our sensibilities might be shaken, that we might weigh the peace of this setting against the pain and terror which brought thousands who died in wars to rest here and in countless other gardens. The contrasts are so stark that we would like not to see, much less experience them. But it is for us the living to bear remembrance. To remember first, Father, then rejoice, that it was not we who sacrificed self before the enemies of each age of war, but some other son, daughter, sister, mother, brother, or father. Few are the names we know on the gravestones, but they read not with our names imprinted and we are glad. And then to remember, Father, that those who sacrificed could well have been us. That all too soon the gifts of war -- the torn body, the early grave -- could have been ours; a price that we would have paid. We were willing, not cowards or heroes, but willing. And finally, to remember that time underscores the futility of wars; that foes become friends, that friends become foes, until the confusion of friend and foe makes us wonder at it all and recognize the mindlessness of warring. Dear God, help us to remember the significance of a “Memorial Day” and pray indeed for the implements of war to be forged anew into the plowshares and pruning hooks of our children. This is our prayer that we offer in your Holy Name, in memory of those of the past and in the hope for a future of peace.  Amen.


Father, our nation has marched toward its destiny to the cadence of soldiers tramping under the flag. When our nation has been drawn into war, our youth have given themselves to secure peace and freedom for the nation. We owe those who have fallen a debt we can never repay. We pray that there will never again be a need for our soldiers to march away to armed conflict. As our fallen comrades rest peacefully in their graves, may we be ever vigilant that their sacrifices not be in vain.  Amen.


Eternal God, the Creator of all people, we gather on this Memorial Day to pay tribute to those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice of life itself, for the preservation of the freedom of our beloved nation. For their devotion to duty, for their willingness to accept the responsibility of a solemn, sacred mission, we give you thanks. And, as on this day we remember and honor their lives, their deeds and their deaths, may we again resolve that their deaths should not have been in vain. But, may we as citizens of a nation founded upon faith in Almighty God, stand firm to keep the peace that others have given their lives to win. Bless the loved ones of those whom we honor today. Fill them with a pride that is truly justified, and a comfort that can come only from you. We make these petitions in the name of him who has given us life, peace and freedom.  Amen.


Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; we give you thanks for all of your servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them your mercy and the light of your presence, and the assurance of your peace.  Amen.


O Lord our God and Heavenly Father, as we have heard your voice calling us out of darkness into your marvelous light, so on this Memorial Day may we hear the voices of the thousands of our fellow Americans who have fallen in the noble cause of national freedom. May it call us to a sense of unity with them and their loved ones, to share collectively their loss and sadness. May it call us to a renewed determination as military personnel, for a deepened responsibility toward our various tasks in the overall mission of the armed services. May it call us to a mixture of pride and relief for the preserved freedoms which they have purchased. May it call us to a renewed sense of appreciation for the liberty and opportunity which have been safeguarded by their sacrifice. O Lord, we remember, we hear, we serve, with your wisdom and strength.  Amen.


May the Lord our God bless us all present here, to memorialize those who died to preserve our liberty and freedom in our nation and in the world. And may the Lord our God remember all those whose sacrifice gave this nation its greatness, progress, and richness. May our memory of them be an honorable one, full of thanksgiving to the Lord who accepted them into his kingdom. The Lord is for all, and in him we believe, and to him we pray, remember all who died in the service of their country, whether in the air, on land, or at sea. O Lord, be gracious and merciful onto them and let your light shine upon them, for you are our God and unto you we ascribe glory now and forever.  Amen.


Eternal and ever-loving God, we thank thee for the privilege of meeting on this hollowed day in this free nation, under these spacious skies to hallow the memory of our noble and dead who gave their full devotion to thee and our country. Bless, Almighty God, the thousands of disabled veterans in our hospitals today. Relieve their pain and suffering and give them hope and cheer. On this day of sacred memory, we ask for grace and prayer to live more noble lives, to become better servants of the living God, better fathers and mothers, better sons and daughters, and better citizens of America and of your world. Until that great day when we shall see war no more, grant us strength to live as you have taught us, in your most holy word.  Amen.


Great and Gracious God, our help in ages past and our hope for years to come; we gather on this Memorial Day weekend to affirm, like Paul of old, that “whether we live or whether we die, we are God’s.” We pause to thank you for the lives and love of those who have died and who now live with you and also continue to live within us. For their memories that always will be ours, we praise you.  Amen.13 (J. B.)


O God of Eternity, our times are in your hands. The reading of the names of our fallen heroes has reminded us of that. And the tribute to them symbolized by the laying of the wreath in their memory reminds us that even more important than how long we live is how well. In this quiet moment of meditative memory, we think of them each and remember them before you. We think also of their families and ask that your great heart of love may sustain them all in the times of deep sadness, loneliness, and even of anger, which breaks their hearts from time to time. We also think today of other heroes, who inhabited other times, who like our fallen friends, have helped to build a nation based upon your principles of justice for all and freedom for all - freedom from want, and from tyranny and from fear, and freedom to worship you as they choose. You blessed America and made her strong. Help her also to be good. Bless and save this land which we love so much, O Lord, and for which any of us would die if necessary. Help her to deposit her trust not alone in armies, navies, and air forces, not alone in stocks and banks, nor only in the achievements of the human mind, but in that righteousness which alone exalteth any nation and by which alone peace can finally come. May it be O God, that the words “In God we trust” is not just a motto inscribed upon our coins, but a rule of life emblazoned upon our hearts. In your name we pray. O Lord.  Amen.


Eternal God, as we celebrate the events of this all American week, we pause to remember those who have gone before and the sacrifices they made so that we may have the freedoms we enjoy this day. Let us in this moment rededicate ourselves to the highest ideals our fallen comrades lived and died for. Help us to maintain the fitness, develop the loyalty, cherish the integrity that is essential to accomplish the missions that are yet before us. Grant that we may always be an instrument of your peace in a world that is all too familiar with war. This we ask in the name of the great friend and master of all, our Lord and our God.  Amen.


O Lord our God, we remember before you this day the men and women of our Armed Forces who gave their lives that freedom and justice could live. We recall their sacrifices and offer them anew on the alter of liberty. Grant, gracious Father, that their deaths not be in vain, and that liberty and peace continue in America through our efforts. Give us an abiding sense of the heritage our veterans have bestowed, and the grace of your presence in our ranks, now and evermore.  Amen.


Great God of the universe, as we turn our thoughts to the past sacrifices of those who died so that we might live in freedom, grant us hearts and minds that are truly thankful. Help us to fully appreciate the price that was paid at places like Bunker Hill, the Battle of New Orleans, The Alamo, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, The Ardennes, Omaha Beach, Iwo Jima, Pork Chop Hill, and most recently Lebanon, Grenada, and Kuwait. Thank you for those who gave the “last full measure of devotion” and laid down their lives for this country. As we remember these fallen comrades-in-arms who died in both distant and recent conflicts, fill us with resolve that we might be willing to lay our lives on the line to defend the precious freedoms we still enjoy today. But most of all, enable us to trust you, the living God, and to entrust to your keeping ourselves and our country. For we know that no man or nation can enjoy the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without your gracious intervention in the affairs of men.  Amen.


Our heavenly Father, on this Memorial Day, we stand in grateful acknowledgement of our past history. We thank thee for those who have lived and worked to bring us to this present hour. We acknowledge our debt to those of our nation who have given their lives for their country, for freedom, justice, and liberty. May we never forget the value of their sacrifice, nor the nobility of courage nor the tenacity of endurance, which have purchased for us peace, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, O God, help us to prize and keep this heritage that we may be true as they were true, loyal as they were loyal. Grant unto us the wisdom to weigh and evaluate the greater issues of life and forever live, fight and die for these great causes. We humbly pray for peace. Not only among nations, but among and within ourselves.  Amen.


O God, you are our Father and the Father of all mankind which means that we are all members of the same family - brothers and sisters. We would speak to you now, Father. What we have to say to you is that we are mindful today that we are standing in the sacred place of the armies of the faithful, countless souls that passed and left no name. We remember that each who decided within himself or herself that freedom is worth defending and if need be dying for, is known to you and valued by you even if others forget. We want to remain sensitive O God to the high price that others before us, in whose shoes we now stand, paid for the priceless gift of freedom, for the right of home, the church, the school, for the open door to personhood in a land the people rule. God of justice, save us from the awful sin of forgetting those who died for our sake and our children’s sake. Lord, we want our children to be free to live and grow up and have the opportunity to experience the good gift of life you give. We pledge our lives in the service of eternal vigilance for the cause of peace.  Amen.


Almighty God, you have given us this good land for our heritage; We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of the land, for the great resources of this nation and for the men and women who have made this country strong. We thank you especially for the torch of liberty which has been lit in this land. Although we have sometimes failed to follow its clear light, give us strength to maintain its promised freedoms for all people. Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun. Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice, and abolish poverty and crime. Hasten the day, we ask, when all people in our nation will lift their voices in one united chorus of freedom and liberty for all. We remember before you, O Lord, with grateful hearts all those men and women of our country who in the day of decision were not wanting and gave their full devotion to preserve the freedom and liberties of our nation. May we in our day give honor to their sacrifice as we continue to preserve, protect, and enlarge those ideals for which they gave their lives. We pause, not to give meaning to their deaths, but to know the true meaning of our lives. Let them be our teachers as we seek to rediscover the sources of courage, dedication, patriotism, and sacrifice. May we not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. Grant us courage and strength to presevere as we seek to carry out your holy purpose of brotherhood for all mankind, that your name might be glorified in all the world.  Amen.


Father, we thank you for the sacrifice, the ultimate giving of their lives of these men and women we honor today. Without their willingness to give totally of themselves, we would not continue to remain free. There are men and women who lie in unmarked graves all over this world who gave of themselves. There are families still mourning the deaths of husbands and brothers, wives and sisters given in the wars of our nation and we continue to seek your mercy, grace and care for each of these. Thank you Father for them in the name of your son Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Lord our God, as we stand here today, thousands of miles away from home, we stand proudly, for we gather to remember comrades in arms who have given us our legacy of freedom, of greatness, and our niche as a nation of history. And we stand Lord, remembering in their deaths your own words so silently loud this day. No greater love have any than those who give their lives freely, out of love, out of commitment to something greater than themselves. Dedicate us today, Lord to those same principles. Help us rise above our own narrow lives to recognize the blessings you have given us in our American heritage. And Lord, help us to remember above all else your hand in our destiny, for without you we are nothing. You are Lord of all nations now and forever.  Amen.


Almighty Eternal God, in whom all generations of mankind live and move and have their being: Today we remember with deep gratitude, pride and esteem these men and women who have given their lives in the cause of freedom - these who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Lord, we are proud that their wishbones were not where their backbones should have been, that they did not choose the path of ease and comfort, but accepted the challenge of difficulty. They were men and women whose hearts were clear and whose goals were high - men and women who mastered themselves. Lord, our prayer today is also for the living - not only those gathered here but for our nation as a whole. May no forgetfulness or indifference of ours make them who have perished as though they had never been. To the end that these dead shall not have died in vain, may we receive with fit humility the fruits of their sacrifice, and carry on to further fulfillment their deepest hope for their land and ours that freedom may continue to live.  Amen.


God of power and glory, who led your children out of bondage with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night: lead us, we pray, out of bondage to the mean goals and small-minded desires which propel nations into war. Make us be servants of peace, reluctant to force our wills on others, quick to honor the hopes and integrity of our neighbor nations in this small world, and always more ready to build than to destroy. Grant us grace to be proud but not arrogant, loyal but not blind, dutiful but not slavish, so that we may honor our flag by giving it second place to your peaceable design for the world.  Amen.1


Almighty God, who governs the nations with justice and mercy: accept our thanksgiving for this land in all its promise, chaos, failure, and fulfillment, and hold in your foreverness the sweep, height, and hope that is America. Help us to honor those who have broken and cleared the way before us - voyagers and exiles, school-teachers and minutemen, liberators who fashioned just laws. Deepen in us the excitement of clipper ships and Moby Dick, wagons west and cattle drives, Walden and the sprawling railroads. Make us penitent in remembrance of those robbed and plundered, massacred and driven, harried and enslaved -victims who paid the price of others’ greed. Still keep our hearts glad and grateful for the dead and the living who gave and continue to give their talent, service, and life itself to the dream of this nation as sanctuary for the oppressed and homeland for the free.  Amen.1


As we pause to lift our hearts and minds in prayer, let us be mindful of those who have laid down their lives in the service of their country. Lord, we ask your strength, that we might dedicate ourselves to perfecting your kingdom of peace and justice among nations. Let us give thanks for the many blessings of freedom which we possess, purchased at the cost of many lives and sacrifices. Fill us with the courage to fulfill our tasks as men and women and in no way break faith with the fallen. We commend these fallen to your mercy and ask that you give them eternal rest...this we ask and pray in your name.  Amen.


God, tomorrow is our nation’s Memorial Day. There was a time when people in small towns all across our land gathered in parks or cemeteries and heard the flowery oratory, felt the stirring marches, stood in silence at the crack of rifles and the haunting notes of taps that spoke an Amen to the list of local heroes while some elderly relative sat teary-eyed on the stand. We were there to remember our nation’s history and heroes. But that is a part of another age. We don’t live in small towns anymore and high school bands no longer march five miles to stand among the graves of men they never knew. So why bother you with a prayer for Memorial Day? Because you know how badly we need a sense of both heritage and destiny, at least a hero or two we can call to mind, an event that stands out because it was the point at which those values which nourish us were preserved. We can be no greater than the men and women we most admire. So keep our memories alive with our gratitude and gratitude alive with faithfulness.  Amen.


Eternal father, who alone rules the destinies of nations and who has deemed that men should live in freedom and not fear, awaken in us a new appreciation of our land that we may apply ourselves to the great work of keeping alive a sense of freedom. Grant us your spirit as we honor those who have fought a good fight and finished the course. On this day we call to remembrance those who served in far off places and have laid down their arms to march into that land of eternal peace. We remember the sufferings, the fears and the horrors of what they endured. It is a time for us to realize that much of our best blood has been spilled - all over the world - so that we might live free and unchained! May they, and those who suffer wounds for peace, as well as their families who valiantly and silently also serve, receive rest from their struggles and a “well done” from you, Captain of their souls. Permit us never to forget our comrades-in-arms from whose fallen hands we have taken up the sacred cause of freedom. Today, we consecrate unto you the debt of our national gratitude which is their rightful due. Keep sacred their sacrifice in our hearts. Keep holy our course in your sight. Enkindle within us a flame of selfless unwavering devotion to duty that we may never be found wanting in those qualities of spirit and mind which alone are able to preserve hearth and home, the peace of our nation, and the tranquility of the world. We earnestly implore your providential care as we face the grim and great task which lies ahead. May the day soon come when we can lay down arms and more earnestly give our attention to do justice, to live in kindness, and to walk humbly in your sight.  Amen.


Our Heavenly Father: This memorial day as many celebrate with time off, picnicking, enjoying a beautiful day, and the beginning of summer seasons--we pay honor and tribute to those and their families who remind us what this day is truly about. We call it Freedom. Some were Rangers, some aviators, some SEABEES, some grunts, some navigators, some Bereas, some SEALS, some Marines, some mechanics and some Chaplains, all dedicated for the sacrifice of Life if required. In our silence, in our tears, in our memory, in our words, in our love, we keep the torch burning today. We remember and we shall never forget. So help us God.  Amen.


Father in heaven, this is no time to glory in war, but rather to remember and give thanks for those who have cherished freedom and liberty more than life. As we recall with thanksgiving the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who have lost their lives in defense of America, let us rededicate our lives to the ideals for which they paid the supreme price. Their legacy is our birthright and our responsibility. Help us so to perform the mission placed in our hands that generations yet unborn will continue to enjoy the freedoms we hold dear. Grant us skill, dedication, and courage for the daily tasks of maintaining the bright torch of liberty.


Almighty God, Lord of life and of death, we gather on this Memorial Day of ____ to honor our country’s dead. Men and women who have lived and died for the love of their country. So it is for these that we stand here today. Yes, we stand here for what they have done and for what they have given--their lives. So help us to look beyond the graves--the tombstones--and see their lives. Lives--people that you loved, people that we loved. Now, along with our entire country, we pause, we reflect, we pay tribute and we honor all these that have gone on before us. We give thanks for their service, and we verify by our presence here today that their efforts were not in vain. We praise you, O God, King of the Universe. Blessed be your holy name now and forever.  Amen.


The Prophet Isaiah tells us: “Nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Lord, on this Memorial Day, we pause to remember with gratitude those who paid the ultimate price for the cause of peace and freedom. We thank you for what they have taught us about honor and courage. Help us to faithfully continue their efforts that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren may live in a peaceful world and know the reality of beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.  Amen.


Almighty and everlasting God, we remember before you with humble gratitude those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy. We give you thanks for their memory and good example, their courage and devotion, even unto death. Look mercifully, we ask, upon the unrest in the world. Draw all people to yourself and to one another in the bonds of peace. Grant understanding to the nations that they might be united in a compassionate community where there is justice and mercy, truth and freedom. We commend to your gracious care and keeping all women and men of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be.  Amen.


Our being here today is due to the supreme sacrifice of these men. When the Allies destroyed the Thousand Year Reich, they ensured freedom for the Western World. In learning of the atrocities and barbarities of the Nazi death camps, we have some idea of what a Hitler victory would have meant for the world. One can recount the deeds of these soldiers with the grief and bitterness of their having lost their lives; or, one can resolve that their sacrifice will be for inspiration and renewal in our lives. For some, the Allied advances came too late. Nevertheless, while they had the breath of life, they too dreamed of a better world - a world for which these gallant people gave their lives. I share with you from the writings of one such person - from the Diary of Anne Frank:

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder, I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come out right one of these days; that this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must hold on to my ideals for perhaps the day will come when I shall be able to carry them out."

May Anne's words and these soldiers' deeds be fulfilled in us - in our deeds and lives - and may this be our prayer - our resolution on this Day of Memorial.  Amen.