Remembrance and prayer for comfort and strength for those families who have lost loved ones and for those wounded or injured.
We salute you, dear friends. Because of your sacrifice we enjoy the freedoms and promise America extends to all. We pledge enduring gratitude and honor to your self-sacrifice. The heroes of every war are not the generals or politicians. They are the extraordinary men and women, the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors, willing to risk their lives for the cause of freedom for all. The lives of our fallen American and coalition heroes who heeded the call of duty reflect the highest qualities God has put in man. Their lives teach us courage, endurance, patriotism, loyalty, true nobility and self-sacrifice. The Bible tells us that a man can possess no greater love than the willingness to lay down his life for his friends. We pay humble and grateful tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice, obeying the call of their country, laying down their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other nations around the globe. We bow our heads in reverence and respect of our fallen heroes, American and Allied. As the sister of one of you said, you are our "eternal soldier" and "we will see you in every sunbeam that breaks through the clouds and hear you in every young man's voice."
The following are excerpts from an address by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy on 12 May 1962 and is a memorable tribute to the ideals that inspired that great American soldier:
Duty, honor, country…They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unbelievers will say they are but words, but they teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm. Known to all of you is the story of the American man-at-arms, one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history. When I think of his patience in adversity, his courage under fire and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died, unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth; the soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training--sacrifice. In battle, and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no greater strength can take the place of the divine help which alone can sustain him. However hard the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind. Serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle, the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. The soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. The shadows are lengthening, the twilight is here. Days of old have vanished--tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps. I bid you farewell.
Heavenly Father, we put our arms of prayer and consolation around those who mourn in this hour. Grant them Your great grace and comfort. Gather these fallen heroes into Your arms and let them take their places among the great cloud of witnesses. By faith in the eternal promise of life in Christ Jesus release these brave warriors into Your abiding rest.
Grant peace, strength and comfort to their loved ones, to be sure as Your servant Job declared: "I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth - in my flesh I shall see God for myself!" You are the Chief Shepherd of the flock. You have promised that even though we pass through the valley of the shadow of death we shall not fear evil, but cling to the abiding comfort You provide as You bring these loved ones to the house You have built as a dwelling place forever. We bind the sacrifice of these lives to the horns of Your eternal altar of remembrance and salvation as you open for them the gates of righteousness. We pray that each one would hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your rest.”
Lord, provide the strength and support of Your rod and staff for family members suffering grief and loss as they lean upon You in this hour. In the midst of this great personal and private darkness give to them the warm and reassuring light of Your presence and salvation. Grant assurance that these precious warriors are safe at home with You, Lord, where shadows flee and sorrow and sighing fly away. You are the King of Glory and the source of all comfort. In the midst of tears, give Your supernatural consolation. In the midst of darkness and loss let each one sense Your wondrous light and glory. We ask for Your mercies to extend also to Iraqi and Afghan civilians who have suffered the loss of loved ones prior to and during this conflict. Grant them comfort, hope and swift deliverance. In the coming days let us know the deep sense of victory, hope and joy of Christ who proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever believes in Me shall not perish but have everlasting life and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." Extend the promise You gave to Abraham to these who have not withheld their sons and daughters. In blessing bless them, in increasing increase them. We pray all this in the name of the source of all comfort, peace and love, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Mansions of the Lord
To fallen soldiers let us sing
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord.
No more bleeding, no more fight
No prayers pleading through the night
Just divine embrace, eternal light
In the mansions of the Lord.
Where no mothers cry and no children weep
We will stand and guard though the angels sleep
Through the ages safely keep
The Mansions of the Lord.