Veteran’s Day Prayers

November 10, 2011 · Category: Men and Faith, Poetry 

Dave SolovyAt the suggestion of my friend Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., editor of HUC-JIR continuing ed blog Tzeh U’limad, I’ve written three prayers for Veterans Day. “Veterans Day Prayer” is classical in structure and language. “To the Soldier, To the Veteran” is a three-stanza prayer/poem with a parallel structure. “The Last Soldier” is a prayer for peace that honors the soldier’s journey. I haven’t yet recorded audio for them, which I’ll post later. Click here to read them on Tzeh U’limad. The photo is my grandfather, David Solovy z”l. He served in The Great War, World War I.

Veterans Day Prayer
G-d of compassion,
G-d of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.

G-d of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.

Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

To the Soldier, To the Veteran
These things I do not know:

The sound of a bullet.
The power of a blast.
The blood of a comrade.
The depth of your wound.
The terror at midnight.
The dread at dawn.
Your fear or your pain.

These things I know:

The sound of your honor.
The power of your courage.
The blood of your wound.
The depth of your strength.
The terror that binds you.
The dread that remains.
Your dignity and your valor.

For these things we pray:

The sound of your laughter.
The power of your voice.
The blood of your yearning.
The depth of your healing.
The joy that frees you.
The hope that remains.
Your wholeness and your love.

The Last Soldier
When the last soldier passes on,
When armies are disbanded and militias discharged,
When weapons are abandoned and armor discarded,
Your mission will, at last, be over.

For you know the soldier’s secret.
Yours was not a mission of war
Nor a mission of ruin.
Yours was not a mission of destruction
Nor a mission of death.
Your mission was safety, security, protection.
Your mission was honor, loyalty, service.
Your mission was to end violence, tyranny, despair.

When the last soldier passes on,
When the uniforms are retired and the final grave filled,
We will remember all who served and sacrificed for our nation.

Until then G-d of Old,
Watch over our soldiers and our veterans.
Renew their courage.
Rebuild their strength.
Heal their wounds.
Bind their hearts with Your steadfast love.
Remember them,
Bless then,
Sustain them,
And give them peace.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to a related prayer called “In Times of War” and a prayer “For Peace in the Middle East.” Special thanks to Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., yet again, for her suggestions and encouragement. Here are links to other prayers written at Rabbi Ruth’s suggestion: “Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue)” and “A Liturgy for 9-11”.

Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. His work combines ancient ideas with new voices and modern rhythms into a unique range of prayers, meditations and poetry. Alden’s work includes classically Jewish liturgical forms, non-denominational spiritual prayer/poems and meditations for men. (www.tobendlight.com, asolovy54 @ gmail.com). Alden completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in Chicago, in 2009.

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