HEALING & SUPPORT
Each year on the “National Memorial Day Concert”, we unite in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives for our country. We honor their lives and what they died for by keeping their memories alive in our hearts.
At the Concert we invite audience members who lost a spouse, a child, a parent, another relative or a friend to write a eulogy, a remembrance or a prayer in their honor. Every year the response after the concert is generous and deeply moving. As promised to those of you who requested it, in the fall of every year we deliver your submissions to the appropriate memorial with honor and respect for you and your loved ones. Find below a description of our ceremony in 2004 along with video excerpts from those solemn ceremonies.
2004 Remembrance Ceremonies
On Friday, November 5, 2004, just before Veterans Day, we visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
At each location a remembrance ceremony was performed that included the following:
The clergy in attendance at the Remembrance Ceremonies at the Memorials were Rev. Steve Hyde, Ph.D., Rev. Charles Updike and Father Daniel Coughlin, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ceremonies were performed at the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. At each location, the clergy delivered words of prayer as the remembrances were presented. A wreath was placed in memoriam and a military bugler played Taps.
Each ceremony was deeply moving for all involved. To see excerpts from these ceremonies, please click on a memorial location below:
World War II Memorial Ceremony
At the Remembrance Ceremony at the World War II Memorial, clergy delivered prayers as remembrances were presented, a wreath was lain and a military bugler played Taps.
Transcript of 2004 World War II War Veterans Remembrance Ceremony:
REV. HYDE: "Nothing speaks more eloquently on this hallowed ground than the words of those whose loved ones are remembered here." [Reading letter]
"Dear Dad, I never had the opportunity as an adult to tell you how much I loved you, honor you, and hold immense pride in my heart for you. I'm so very sorry that you're no longer here to be a part of the World War II memorial. I know that you would love it, because it really honors all that you did. Much love forever, Diane."
FATHER COUGHLIN: "Memorializing is holding the stories alive in our hearts. All of us are drawn into the telling and the retelling of the stories of those whom we treat as heroes and whose memories we honor to this very day."
REV HYDE: "May we bow in prayer. Eternal compassionate God, as we stand here in remembrance of this noble generation of heroes, we know that you're God from generation to generation. The men and women that we remember here are your sons and daughters and we thank you for their stature, for their sacrifice. We are inspired by those who still move among us and we honor those who have died. And in the great quiet of your presence and the mystery of your ways, make known to them our gratitude and our love. Amen."
The first three notes of taps is played by a Marine.
Korean War Veterans Memorial Ceremony
At the Remembrance Ceremony at the Korean War Memorial, clergy delivered prayers as remembrances were presented, a wreath was lain and a military bugler played Taps.
Transcript of 2004 Korean War Veterans Remembrance Ceremony:
REV. UPDIKE: "It's an honor today to stand here at the Korean Memorial and remember the stories that we've read. All the ones that you sent in that allowed us to look into your hearts and into your souls and see your grief and we sincerely hope that you know of our prayers and our commitment to remember with you those who've sacrificed so much. Today I want to read to you a letter from Joan. She says:
"I was 16 years old when I received the telegram that my big brother, Eddie, PFC Edmund R. Flaherty, age 22 was killed by a mortar shell in Korea. I will never forget my mother's screams."
REV. HYDE: "We are here for the many of you who are determined that your loved ones not be forgotten and that the sacrifice they made for us all, the reminder that freedom is not free. We are hear for all of you and with hearts full of compassion, to assure you that they are not forgotten, that God does not forget them and neither do we."
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony
At the Remembrance Ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial, clergy delivered prayers as remembrances were presented, a wreath was lain and a military bugler played Taps.
Transcript of 2004 Vietnam War Veterans Remembrance Ceremony:
REV. UPDIKE: "So many times, I have been privileged to walk among the names on this wall. Today, I am especially privileged because I am walking among these names and praying along with you, some of whom have never been able to be here. And so I represent you today."
REV. HYDE "These names on the wall are living. They reach out and touch you and we honor them today as fallen heroes."
FATHER COUGHLIN: "I had a friend who died during his second tour of duty in Vietnam. And even though we go on, you still feel a certain emptiness. It's that emptiness that we hope is filled with inspiration, compassion and a sense of ongoing love that is found in God and in the support of family and friends. And all Americans who stand with you in memory."
REV UPDIKE: "Gracious God, giver of all good things. You have brought us to know the joy of relationship, the beauty of live, you've sustained us in the darkness of a forced grief that came upon so many, so young. WE ask dear Lord that you allow peace for their families, that you enfold them in your good, strong arms and hold them secure even as you hold their loved ones secure, forever more."
Arlington National Cemetery Ceremony
Transcript of 2004 Arlington Cemetery Remembrance Ceremony:
REV. HYDE: "It is with profound reverence that we stand on the grounds of Arlington Cemetery. The graves here are fresh, far too fresh, and our grief is fresh. We look back on this war not in retrospect, but there is an immediacy to our sorrow."
FATHER COUGHLIN: "The vehicle Mac was in was hit by a roadside bomb. Mac was killed instantly. I miss Mac. I will always remember what he gave to his country. He is missed not only by his civilian family but he is missed by his military family as well. Mac had done a stint for a while in the Marines before he arrived in the New York Army National Guard. So in closing I say, Semper Fidelis, brother. I will see you at the great shift change."
REV. HYDE: "What we have to offer to those of you today who have lost loved ones in Iraq, is not only our words - that is not enough - but we offer our hearts. Our own hearts that are broken in sorrow. Hearts that are full of gratitude for the sacrifice of your loved ones, for the nobility of their lives. We share with you our bewilderment, our grief of these lives that were cut short, all that might have been that will never be, and yet we trust that in the great providence of God that there is a grand perspective that we cannot yet understand and we pray for all that there will be peace, and even the joy that comes in the morning after the weeping in the night."
The Story of "Taps"
Almost everyone is familiar with the haunting melody of "Taps," but few know the story of its origin. During the Civil War, in July 1862, when the Army of the Potomac was in camp, Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield summoned his brigade bugler to his tent. Butterfield, who disliked the colorless "extinguish lights" bugle call then in use, whistled a new tune and ask the bugler to sound it for him. After repeated trials and note changes, the call was finally arranged to suit Gen. Butterfield's taste and was used for the first time that night. The call soon spread to other units of the Union Army as well as to those of the Confederates. Taps was made an official bugle call after the war.
Today, whenever an American is buried with military honors anywhere in the United States, the ceremony concludes with the firing of three volleys of musketry over the grave and the playing of Taps, a singularly beautiful tune, melancholy, yet full of peace.
Taps is played as viewer eulogies and remembrances are delivered in a 2005 ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
"I pause to remember my uncle, Joseph R. W. Gauvain Pfc 45th Infantry Division, who was killed in action September 3, 1944 in Southern France. Sadly missed but not forgotten."
Frank J. Gauvain