A Prayer for Veteran's Day in Troy, Michigan

Each year the City of Troy, Michigan hosts a Veteran's Day Observance, weather permitting on the Veteran's Memorial Plaza. For many years I have offered an invocation and benediction. Now I do so as a Troy Police Department Chaplain.  As I shared before giving this prayer, I noted that while I am not a veteran, my father served in the Navy during World War II, while one grandfather served stateside as commander of the Navy Port of Embarcation and my step-grandfather commanded a ship in the Navy. My father's father served in the Army during the Spanish-American War (he passed away long before I was born). So in honor of these family members and also friends who served, share this prayer. 

Invocation for Veteran's Day

Eternal God,

      We gather today as we do each year to honor the women and men who have served in the armed forces with dignity, honor, and courage. Even as we honor their service, may we learn from them the virtues of selfless service, loyalty to the country, the discipline of teamwork, and perseverance in challenging situations.

While many have served in times of war, we recognize that our veterans have served our nation in many other ways. They have offered their expertise and labor, bringing relief and support to communities and people in need. They have built dams, roads, and bridges. For these acts of service and more, we give thanks.

       Even as we honor these men and women for their service, we are reminded that many veterans carry with them physical and mental wounds. Their service to their country has changed their lives forever. Therefore, we ask that they might know your healing presence and compassion. Even as we pray for those who were wounded in their time of service, we pray as well for families who share in their lives.

We also remember those who gave their lives in service to their country and the families who carry that loss close to their hearts. For some, there is a lack of closure as they await word about a loved one missing in action. We pray that they too might find solace and healing in your presence.

      While we honor the veterans, we must not forget the families, especially spouses and children, who may have waited anxiously for news of their loved ones who risked their lives in places far from home. We give thanks for their willingness to share their loved ones with their nation. 

      We gather here today to honor veterans for their military service. That is a good and right thing to do. Nevertheless, we also pray that a spirit of peace would come upon the nations so that our loved ones no longer need to go into harm’s way. Even as wars are taking place in different parts of the world at this very moment, we look forward to that time when, in fulfillment of the prophet’s words, the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” For as Jesus shared with a gathering on a mountain: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

      We who love this country, ask that you not let us forget those who served and continue to serve. May their example encourage us to follow in their footsteps by engaging service to community, country, and world, so that together we might pursue the common good of all creation, here and abroad.  Amen. 


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