Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prayer for the dedication of a Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker

We gather today to celebrate the freedom we enjoy in the United States of America, and to remember that those freedoms have been, and still are protected by the men and women who serve in our armed forces around the world. We gather together to honor the veterans who served in times of peace and times of war, to remember those who suffer from the wounds of war, and particularly those who paid the ultimate price, sacrificing their very lives in defense of freedom here and around the world. We come to remember servicemen and women, their parents and children and spouses, all who play a part in supporting our nation. We mourn those who have been taken away, those who were killed or wounded in battle, we honor their memory, we offer love and encouragement to their families. Mostly, we resolve never to forget them, nor their sacrifice.

And so, gracious God, Lord and Father of all humankind, you who are the Prince of Peace, the defender of the righteous and shelter for those in conflict, doubt, or pain, we thank you for your hand that has been at work guiding and directing us to this day; we thank you for giving us brothers and sisters who give of their own lives and talents to defend our country – many of whom stand here in our presence even today. For the young soldier now in Baghdad or Afghanistan, for the old soldier whose sight is fading and step faltering, for the spouse and children who wait at home, missing yet supporting their soldier, we pray for protection, health, and comfort. For civilians who find themselves in harm's way, we pray for your hand to cover over them. Wherever there is violence or anger, where troops array for battle or insurgents sneak about in darkness, we pray your Spirit of Peace to reign in those places, bringing an end to hostility. We truly long for the day when swords are beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, when nation will no longer take up arms against nation, nor will any train for war – the day your Kingdom of peace and righteousness reigns upon this land.

Until that day, we pray for your hand upon our leaders, our soldiers, our peacemakers. We pray that this marker would remind us of the great sacrifice made by so many, that it would remind us to encourage and support our veterans, that it would call to mind the men and women who have served this country faithfully. May all who come to this place be reminded to cherish the freedoms that you alone, O God, grant to your children. And may the prayers of peace in this garden, at this marker, be heard by you, O God, and may peace and freedom reign in this place, and around the world. Amen.

1 comment:

P. Petry said...

Thank you for this thoughtful reminder and tribute.

My parents' generation knew what the Blue Star stood for. During World War II, families would hang a Blue Star flag in their window for every serviceman from their home who was serving during the war http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_flag.

The blue star would be replaced by a gold star if the serviceman was killed in action or died during his term of service. The Blue Star Highway markers serve as poignant reminders that Freedom is not free.