My grandfather, Captain Richard E. Farwell, was serving as First Officer on the USS Ward just outside Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941 when the Ward fired upon and sank a Japanese mini-sub shortly before the attack began. For more on his service, see this previous blog post: A Day to Remember.
I hope to have time to slip down to Greenwood Memorial Park to put a flag on his grave as I have in past years.
Mark D, Roberts, who writes the amazing Daily Reflections for The High Calling, today sent out a prayer for Memorial Day which I include here in its entirety:
PRAYER: Gracious, Sovereign God, Lord of all nations,
On this Memorial Day, we pause to reflect upon our blessings as a nation and the high cost of those blessings. We offer our prayers of thanks and intercession.
Thank you for the freedom we enjoy in this country, for opportunities to flourish, and for the security of our land.
Thank you for those who have served in the armed services of our country, risking their lives for our liberty.
Thank you for those who have given their lives in service to our country, sacrificing in such a costly way for the sake of others, including me. Thank you for those who have given their lives so that those who live in other countries might experience freedom from tyranny.
Thank you for a day set apart, not just for celebration, but also for solemn remembrance as we consider the sacrifices of so many in our military.
O Lord, may we be more aware of just how blessed we are as a nation. May we be more grateful for our blessings, more faithful in stewarding them well, more eager to share them with others.
We pray today for the families and friends of those who have given their lives in service to our nation. May they be comforted in their sadness. May they be reassured that the sacrifice of their loved ones contributes to a worthy cause. May they be proud of those they have lost, entrusting their ultimate fate into your gracious hands.
Even as we remember those who have given their lives in the past, we also think of those whose lives are on the line today. Protect them. Encourage them. Bring them home safely...and soon.
Give wisdom to the leaders of our armed services, that they might know how best to deploy the troops in the cause of freedom. May their efforts be successful, so that peace with justice might be established in our world.
Guide those who lead our nation in international affairs. Help them to pursue diplomatic paths that prevent needless conflict. May they have your wisdom about when and how to use the military might you have entrusted to us.
God of peace, stir in the hearts of the leaders of all nations and in all who would use violence to further their cause. Change their hearts and minds. Give them a passion for peace. Bring an end to the pain, suffering, injustice, and violence in our world.
We know, dear Lord, that ultimate peace will not come until your kingdom is here in all of its fullness. Nevertheless, we pray for a foretaste of the future. We ask for the growth of peace throughout our world today, so that fewer and fewer men and women will have to risk and even to sacrifice their lives. We long for the day when people will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:4).
May your kingdom come, Lord, and your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!
All praise be to you, God of grace, God of mercy, God of justice, God of peace, King of kings, and Lord of lords! Amen.
And adding to this prayer, I post the Collects For Those Serving in Our Armed Forces and For Memorial Days from The Book of Common Prayer 2011:
LORD God of hosts, stretch forth your almighty arm to strengthen and protect the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guards of our country; Support them in the day of battle, and in times of peace keep them safe from all evil; Endue them with courage and loyalty, and grant that in all things, they may serve without reproach; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (References: 2 Samuel 22.2-4; Deuteronomy 31.6; Hebrews 13.5-6)
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give you thanks for all your servants who have laid down their lives in the serviceof our country; Grant to them your mercy and the light of your presence, so that the good work which you have begun in them may be perfected; Through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord. Amen. (References: John 15.12-17; Ephesians 2.5-6)
Wishing you all a blessed memorial of those who have served and died for the sake of freedom and a joyous celebration of those who continue to serve our country.