With Gratitude and Honor

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Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend,
we remember and give thanks
for those who have given their lives
in the service of our country.
When the need was greatest,
they stepped forward and did their duty
to defend the freedoms that we enjoy,
and to win the same for others.

O God, you yourself have taught us
that no love is greater than that
which gives itself for another.
These honored dead gave the most precious gift they had,
life itself,
for loved ones and neighbors,
for comrades and country – and for us.

Help us to honor their memory
by caring for the family members
they have left behind,
by ensuring that their wounded comrades
are properly cared for,
by being watchful caretakers of the freedoms
for which they gave their lives,
and by demanding that no other young men and women
follow them to a soldier’s grave
unless the reason is worthy and the cause is just.

Holy One, help us to remember that freedom is not free.
There are times when its cost is, indeed, dear.
Never let us forget those who paid so terrible a price
to ensure that freedom would be our legacy.

Though their names may fade with the passing of generations,
may we never forget what they have done.
Help us to be worthy of their sacrifice,
O God, help us to be worthy.

John Veltry, 1933-2008, Canadian Jesuit

_______________________

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

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