Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2005
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their
lives in service to our Nation. When the stakes were highest, our Soldiers,
Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen answered the call of duty and
made the ultimate sacrifice for the security of our country and the peace of
Throughout our Nation’s history, members of the Armed Forces have taken
great risks to keep America strong and free. These proud patriots have
defended the innocent, freed the oppressed, and helped spread the promise
of liberty to all corners of the earth. In serving our Nation, they have
been unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, and unmatched in decency.
Because of their selfless courage, millions of people who once lived under
tyranny now are free, and America is more secure.
On Memorial Day, we remember that this history of great achievement has been
accompanied by great sacrifice. To secure our freedom, many heroic service
members have given their lives. This year we mark the 60th anniversary of
the end of World War II, and we remember the Americans who died on distant
shores defending our Nation in that war. On Memorial Day and all year
long, we pray for the families of the fallen and show our respect for the
contributions these men and women have made to the story of freedom. Our
grateful Nation honors their selfless service, and we acknowledge a debt
that is beyond our power to repay.
In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint
resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has
requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the
United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent
peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United
States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106 579, has
also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as
a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, as a day of prayer
for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at
11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all
Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00
p.m. local time on Memorial Day. I urge the media to participate in these
I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to
direct that the flag be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day
on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States,
and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the
people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their
homes for the customary forenoon period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of May,
in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and twenty ninth.
GEORGE W. BUSH
On Memorial Day we honor those who have fallen in the service of their country. We pray for our servicemen and women. We express our gratitude in whatever way we can for their sacrifice. It is a solemn day of mourning. We visit cemeteries and honor the dead. I am personally grateful for these men and women who have so freely given their lives in order to protect this dream we call liberty. They have spilt their blood on battlefields far away so that I may be free. But many know of the valiant servicemen who laid themselves down in World War 2, World War I, Korea, The Revolution, The Civil War, and all the many more glorious wars and battles of the United States. But I feel that one group seems to fall short with the thanks they receive.
These are the men who died in rice paddies in South East Asia. The men who returned only to be persecuted and spat upon. The men who died in a war that many did not fully understand our reason for fighting. The men who died because of absurd Rules Of Engagement. I am speaking of Vietnam Veterans. These men and women do not get quite enough credit as they deserve. They died and bled and suffered only to be hated in return. They have long been denied the praise they so deserve. So I am doing my part. I would like to say “THANK YOU!” to all the Vietnam Veterans out there who happen to read this site.
But this Memorial Day I am brought to a grave site marked only by an American flag and two stones to show the size of the plot at the head of the grave. It is not marked by much but it is the final resting place of a hero. He may not be a hero to many but he was to me. His presence in my life defined my thoughts on military service. He was a man who was marked by the joys and pains of service. A man who fought many battles and won two wars but in the end, his greatest accomplishment was raising a family. He has been gone now for a little over nine months but his effect on my life can still be felt. He was a great man who i respected and admired and loved deeply, and will miss greatly. My greatest memories of him were listening to him tell stories from his days flying C-47 Goony Birds in the Pacific Theater of World War 2. His influence instilled in me dreams of being an aviator. Of dancing through the sky in a craft of steel, the ruler of my domain, master of my destiny. The United States Government knew this man as Ned Krimminger Miller, Major, USAF(ret.), but I knew him as Papa; as my grandfather. I thank him for all that he did for me and for being a part of my life. Thank You, Papa! I miss you and will always cherish the time we spent together.
And this brings me back to the many fallen heroes. Buried in their graves, their final orders long since processed and their resting places long since consecrated. Their blood ensuring the continuation of the Republic. They fell on battlefields that have been silent many years, but the utterance of their names still brings their comrades to tears. it brings me to the Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers who died in the pursuit of an ideal larger than themselves. In an era when many view the sacrifice of one’s life in the defense of what one’s beliefs, we need only look to the graves and the battlefields of the past. Look towards Gettysburg, Yorktown, Antietam, Arlington, and the other countless battlefields of American history that dot the land. They are hallowed ground. The sites of the deaths of many men who died because they believed in America.
I also cannot help thinking about Arlington National Cemetery. The rows upon rows of white marble headstones bearing the names of ordinary heroes. The toll of war is made evident in the vast sea of graves. You need only see photgraphs to evoke strong emotions of patriotism. It also makes one grateful for the multitudes gathered in Arlington and proud of our country. That we have such men who are willing to lay their lives down in order to guarantee the rights of others; some of whom use those rights to criticize and persecute them. It is also extremely humbling. Especially the Tomb of the Unknowns. Buried inside the monument are men who died only to go unrecognized. But in their anonymity, they come to symbolize more than just dead soldiers. They come to represent all those who have died in combat. They have come to be a shining example of the sacrifice many have made and the fullest extent of service to God and Country.
In closing I would like to pray for the safety of all those serving in the Armed Forces and those who are currently deployed away from their families. I hope they return safe and sound to their homes. I would also like to dedicate this post to all the men and women who have yielded their lives to protect my freedoms and liberties and to those who survived the war but whose lives have been destroyed by war. I know it isn’t much, but is the what little I can do to thank those who have done more than anyone could have asked of them. Thank You. Thank You, from the very depths of my heart and soul.
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have hallowed it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
— Abraham Lincoln