Monday, May 26, 2014

Prayers for Memorial Day

For some people, Memorial Day is a day to open up the beach house.  But for most of us, we're lucky if we can afford a whole week away at a place that overlooks the water.  We can celebrate Memorial Day by saying a prayer of thanks for the sacrifices that keep our houses safe and free us to go on vacation. 

We can pray for an end to those too impoverished to afford shelter, and we can pray for our homeless veterans.

I suspect many of us will celebrate today with a cook out or a picnic.  And many more of us will have to work.  Let us say a prayer of thanks for those who report to work in various service and safety duties, like hospital workers and police and firefighters.

Today, I'd like to be at a national monument, listening to one of the service bands perform.  Below is a picture taken with a much older digital camera, from the early days of digital cameras.  It's the Air Force Memorial on the grounds of the Pentagon, where one June night we heard a wonderful concert with a variety of Air Force bands.


Or maybe I'd rather be in a contemplative spot, saying a thank you.

Part of me will always be a D.C. area girl. It's hard to move around that area without being aware of the sacrifice that past citizens have given so that I can enjoy my good and happy life. Most people are familiar with the Vietnam Memorial or Arlington National Cemetery, but there are so many other places: memorial sites, statues, plaques.  Below is a memorial site in Tallapoosa Georgia; part of the site lists every member of the county killed in every war/police action of the nation's history.  It's sobering, as a listing of names so often is.

For those of us who cannot get away, perhaps we could keep our Memorial Day by reading poetry.   Here's a link to one of my favorites, "Facing It," by Yusef Komunyakaa.  There are plenty of more traditional poems and images out there.

For those of us going to Memorial Day sales, we could also make a donation to a Veteran's group or send a care package to a soldier.

For those of us doing gardening, we could make a mental trip to a veteran's cemetery and leave some imaginary flowers there.

We could say a prayer or send a wish for a future time where the world will be at peace, and we will not have to bury our fallen soldiers.

If you need words, here's a prayer:
God of Comfort, on this Memorial Day, we pray for those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of freedom.  God of peace, please renew in us the determination to be peacemakers.  We pray for leaders across the world, that they may find ways to avoid the wars that take the lives of so many.   God of resurrection, give us the vision of a world where we can be our best selves, where no warmaking takes so much of our energy and other resources.


rbarenblat said...

Beautiful post, beautiful photos, beautiful prayer. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I alway pray for those who have died tried to promote peace nonviolently.