“Remembering their sacrifice, we rededicate ourselves to the tradition of courage that you, our Lord, have instilled in us. Give us a deep sense of reverence for life that is tempered by a passionate desire for justice.”
Prayer for Memorial Day
Lord God Almighty, whose only Son sought not to preserve his life but to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have abundant life, we remember this day the personal sacrifices made by many of our fellow citizens in the service of their country. On this day we pause, however briefly, to remember and recall those who gave the last measure of their lives for their faith, their country and their fellow compatriots in arms. The record of their courage is in the hands of history and the vestige of their lives is at rest in our memories. Grant that we and all the citizens of this land may have the grace to honor their good deeds as in righteousness we strive for peace among all the people of God’s creation. Remembering their sacrifice, we rededicate ourselves to the tradition of courage that you, our Lord, have instilled in us. Give us a deep sense of reverence for life that is tempered by a passionate desire for justice. Continue in us the valor of those who have woven this tradition into the fabric of our country. This we pray in the name of the one God who creates, redeems and sustains. AMEN.
-Bishop James Magness, Bishop for Armed Services (originally posted here)
Collect for Memorial Day
We give you thanks, O Lord, for all who have died that we may live, for all who endured pain that we might know joy, for all who made sacrifices that we might have plenty, for all who suffered imprisonment that we might know freedom. Turn our deep feeling now into determination, and our determination into deed, that as men and women died for peace, we may live for peace for the sake of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Based upon a prayer by Leslie D. Weatherhead (originally posted here)
The First Memorial Day
Did you know that the first Memorial Day took place on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina? The setting was dirt racetrack north of the city where the bodies of over 200 union soldiers had been re-buried and dedicated on that day. The weeks before, a group of former slaves had moved the bodies from a mass grave. They built a new cemetery with proper graves.
To honor those that had fought and died, a parade of over 10,000 people, led by over 2,000 black children marched around the newly dedicated ground. Songs and speeches followed. And THAT was the first Memorial Day.
Listen to the full story from Yale professor David Blight (start around 42:00).
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