Delivered by Carl H. Hulsman, September 26, 2003, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, at the dedication of the memorial monument and plaque to the combat service of the 2nd Cml Mortar Bn and to the honor of those Who Did Not Return.
O God, we come to you rather tardily by worldly measure, but we know it doesn't matter because the psalmist tells us that even "a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night." 1
Today, in this peaceful place, we dedicate a block of stone in recognition of the service of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion in the Korean War and in memory of its young men who, giving that "last full measure," 2 were killed, died of wounds or died in prison camp.
From many different places around the country, these rather ordinary men went out to do rather extraordinary things.
These men had "lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved," 3 but, cut down in their youth, they were denied the joys of a full life they might otherwise have expected.
As Christ died to make men holy, these men died to keep men free. 4
We have the sure and certain hope that you, Lord, will hold them eternally in your grace and your boundless and steadfast love.
Bless us, O God, and bless the members of all our armed forces who stand ever vigilant in the defense of our beloved country.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer for we offer it in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
It is my belief that there is only one requirement for a prayer: it must come from one's heart. As a student of history, I have been struck by the meaningful words written or spoken by others more eloquent than I, and I have included some of them here because, even though they are not mine, they do indeed come from my heart.
1. This biblical quote is to be found in Psalm 90:4.
2. Abraham Lincoln used this phrase in his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the military cemetery there in November 1863.
3. These words are from the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon in charge of a field hospital in France who wrote the poem during the battle of Ypres in WWI.
4. Words similar to these are in the fifth verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861.
This invocation was published in the October 2003 issue of The Red Dragon,
newsletter of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion Association.
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