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We pray, reflect in different ways
But together mourn our dead,
And hope they have not died in vain.
The Civil War gave birth to Decoration Day,
A time for flags and flowers
On the graves of loved ones lost.
But new wars would see our men, our women, die
In far-flung corners of the world,
With graves some could not visit, some graves no one could find.
So this new day – Memorial Day –
Became the time to honor all our dead,
all our loved ones lost in war.
After war in Vietnam
We built this Wall of healing,
that we must – and can — unite to mourn our dead.
Almighty God, during this time of sickness
Even as we seek a cure for disease that infects our bodies,
we must battle hatred and injustice –
Evils that afflict our souls.
For the sake of those we recall today
And for the sake of children, generations, still unborn
We pray our wounded hearts can heal,
Our nation can be healed,
And together we can face the future
United by a dream of justice, and a time of war no more.
And may we say, Amen.
This Memorial Day prayer for Vietnam War veterans was prepared by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff in advance of a virtual ceremony on 25 May 2020, during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. For more details, find this article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Ron Kampeas.
“Memorial Day Prayer at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff on 25 May 2020” is shared through the Open Siddur Project with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Stephen Roth on 29 May 2014
Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld on 23 May 2014
Memorial Prayer for Those Lost Through Human Strife, by Rabbi Chaplain (Lieutenant) Alexander David Goode (ca. 1943)
“That America’s Heroes Shall Not Have Died in Vain” with a special El Malé Raḥamim prayer for Memorial Day, by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)