Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2003
May 22, 2003
On Memorial Day, America undertakes its solemn duty to remember the sacred
list of brave Americans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom
and the security of our Nation. By honoring these proud Soldiers, Sailors,
Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen lost throughout our country's history,
we renew our commitment to upholding the democratic ideals they fought and
died to preserve.
Each Memorial Day, we pray for peace throughout the world, remembering what
was gained and what was lost during times of war. From the bravery of the
men at Valley Forge, to the daring of Normandy, the courage of Iwo Jima,
and the steady resolve in Afghanistan and Iraq, our men and women in uniform
have won for us every hour that we live in freedom. During this year's observance,
we particularly recognize the courageous spirit of the men and women in our
Nation's Armed Forces who are working with our coalition partners to restore
civil order, provide critical humanitarian aid, and renew Afghanistan and
Iraq. As we honor those who have served and have been lost, we better understand
the meaning of patriotism and citizenship, and we pledge that their sacrifices
will not be in vain.
Throughout our history, the decency, character, and idealism of our military
troops have turned enemies into allies and oppression into hope. In all our
victories, American soldiers have fought to liberate, not to conquer; and
today, the United States joins with a strong coalition in the noble cause
of liberty and peace for the world. On this day, America honors her own,
but we also recognize the shared victories and hardships of our allied forces
who have served and fallen alongside our troops.
The noble sacrifices of our service men and women will not be forgotten.
Every name, every life is a loss to our military, to our Nation, and to their
loved ones. Americans stand with the families who grieve, and we share in
their great sorrow and great pride. There will be no homecoming on this Earth
for those lost in battle, but we know that this reunion will one day come.
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 26, 2003, 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 press, radio, television, and all other media to participate
in these observances.
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 twenty-second day of
May, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.