On Memorial Day 2014, the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment visited the American Cemetery in Normandy and with a student group from an American college provided evening colors. As we remember the 76th Anniversary of D-Day this year, here are some photos from that visit and the prayer I offered during the ceremony.
Almighty and Merciful God, we are gathered on this hallowed ground made sacred by the presence of our forebears-in-arms who gave the last full measure of devotion on the shoreline below us.
Standing among so many graves, we are reminded of the cost of war and the sacrifices that have been made throughout our nation’s history by those who have answered the call to protect and defend. Some are known to us as father, grandfather, distant ancestor, close relative, neighbor or friend. Others have stood beside us on the field of battle. Most we know only by their devotion to duty and their physical and moral courage which has preserved for us a just and free nation. With honor and fortitude, they made their stand against all enemies to alleviate tyranny and oppression, build up civil society, provide humanitarian assistance, defend the constitution, uphold human rights and dignity and work toward that glorious day when at last there shall be peace.
And so, O God, in their honor and memory we pause to offer to you a prayer of thanksgiving as we remember them silently in our hearts:
Let us pray for those who fought and died…
Let us pray for those who fought and lived…
Let us pray for those who, through their support, care and love for those who fought, have faced their own battles…
Let us pray for ourselves, that we continue to do all in our power to stand against those who oppose freedom, democracy and the establishment of a just and lasting peace…
O God, may we always remember the patriots upon whose shoulders we stand and may we as a nation always be worthy of those who defend us.
In your most holy name, we pray. AMEN.
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