Chaplain’s Message – May 22, 2020
Hello Vermont and New Hampshire Wings,
Memorial Day is always “special” for me. My father’s generation fought in World War II, I had classmates who died in action in Vietnam, my own memories of serving as a chaplain in the Pacific and conducting memorial services when needed are still with me. Because of the pandemic, there will be few traditional ceremonies this year… but I invite you all to pause for a moment and remember the hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women who served and died for our country.
A quick computer search indicates that 419 chaplains also died in America’s wars. I feel a kinship to them. I remind you that Chaplain Jason Batchelder and myself proudly serve as chaplains in the New Hampshire Wing… and one of us is always available as a “Duty Chaplain,” rotating on call as listed on the NH CAP Wing Website. Should any of you feel the desire to talk with a chaplain, that is why we are here.
You can find many Memorial Day prayers online or elsewhere. Below is one that I find especially meaningful. After I send this email, I will place my small American flags on my lawn to recognize and remember, once again, all those who served and died for our country.
Chaplain Gary Atkins
Chaplain (Captain) Gary Atkins, CAP
Seacoast Composite Squadron (NH-010)
New Hampshire Wing Chaplain
U.S. Air Force Auxiliary
A Prayer for Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice –
Eternal God, Creator of years, of centuries, Lord of whatever is beyond time, Maker of all species and master of all history — How shall we speak to you from our smallness and inconsequence? Except that you have called us to worship you in spirit and in truth; You have dignified us with love and loyalties; You have lifted us up with your lovingkindness.
Therefore, we are bold to come before You without fear. We sing with spirit and pray with courage because you have dignified us; God, lift the hearts of those for whom this holiday is not just diversion, but painful memory and continued deprivation. Bless especially those whose dear ones have died needlessly, in accident or misadventure. We remember with compassion those who have died serving their countries in the midst of combat.
We believe that You will provide for us, as others have been provided for, with the fulfillment of “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Adapted from a prayer written by Rev. Dick Kozelka, First Congregational Church of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN