Here is something that might shock you; I am both fiercely patriotic and spiritual. I know you just thought I was a hedonistic, smart-ass liberal. And I am. But I also love my country, the men and women that fight for my country, and I have my own complicated relationship with G-d.
I went searching for the perfect prayer for Memorial Day that would be all inclusive. I wanted something that honored men and the women of our military, that was generic of faith, and that wasn't choked with archaic language. I am not sure if I found all of that in the following prayer, but what I did find gave me goosebumps from my head to my toes.
"A Soldier's Prayer" - anonymous Submitted by the Rev. Daniel Schatz
(This poem by an unknown writer was found in the desert during the battle of El Agheila, in Tunisia, December 14th, 1942.)
Stay with me God.
The night is dark, The night is cold:
my little spark Of courage dies.
The night is long;
Be with me God, and make me strong.
I love a game; I love a fight.
I hate the dark; I love the light,
I love my child; I love my wife.
I am no coward. I love Life,
Life with its changes of mood and shade.
I want to live. I'm not afraid,
But me and mine are hard to part;
Oh, unknown God, Lift up my heart.
You stilled the waters at Dunkirk
And saved Your Servants.
All Your work Is wonderful, Dear God.
You strode Before us down that dreadful road.
We were alone and hope had fled;
We loved our country and our dead,
And could not shame them; so we stayed
The course, and were not much afraid.
Dear God, that nightmare road!
And then That sea !
We got there - we were men.
My eyes were blind, my feet were torn,
My soul sang like a bird at dawn !
I knew that death is but a door.
I knew what we were fighting for:
Peace for the kids, our brothers freed,
A kinder world, a cleaner breed.
I'm but the son my mother bore,
A simple man and nothing more.
But - God of strength and gentleness,
Be pleased to make me nothing less.
Oh God, when Death is near
To mock the haggard face of fear,
That when I fall - if fall I must -
My soul may triumph in the Dust.
Happy Memorial Day! Have fun, get some rest, and take time to remember our fallen soldiers that fought for your right to eat bbq burgers, and drink ice cold beer on a Monday.