Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Veterans Day Prayers

At the suggestion of my friend Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., editor of HUC-JIR continuing ed blog Tzeh U’limad, I’ve written three prayers for Veterans Day. “Veterans Day Prayer” is classical in structure and language. “To the Soldier, To the Veteran” is a three-stanza prayer/poem with a parallel structure. “The Last Soldier” is a prayer for peace that honors the soldier’s journey. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar above each prayer. Click here to read them on Tzeh U’limad. Click here for Memorial Day Prayers. The photo is my grandfather, David Solovy z”l. He served in World War I.

Veterans Day Prayer
G-d of compassion,
G-d of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.

G-d of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.

Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

To the Soldier, To the Veteran
These things I do not know:

The sound of a bullet.
The power of a blast.
The blood of a comrade.
The depth of your wound.
The terror at midnight.
The dread at dawn.
Your fear or your pain.

These things I know:

The sound of your honor.
The power of your courage.
The blood of your wound.
The depth of your strength.
The terror that binds you.
The dread that remains.
Your dignity and your valor.

For these things we pray:

The sound of your laughter.
The power of your voice.
The blood of your yearning.
The depth of your healing.
The joy that frees you.
The hope that remains.
Your wholeness and your love.

The Last Soldier
When the last soldier passes on,
When armies are disbanded and militias discharged,
When weapons are abandoned and armor discarded,
Your mission will, at last, be over.

For you know the soldier’s secret.
Yours was not a mission of war
Nor a mission of ruin.
Yours was not a mission of destruction
Nor a mission of death.
Your mission was safety, security, protection.
Your mission was honor, loyalty, service.
Your mission was to end violence, tyranny, despair.

When the last soldier passes on,
When the uniforms are retired and the final grave filled,
We will remember all who served and sacrificed for our nation.

Until then G-d of Old,
Watch over our soldiers and our veterans.
Renew their courage.
Rebuild their strength.
Heal their wounds.
Bind their hearts with Your steadfast love.
Remember them,
Bless them,
Sustain them,
And give them peace.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to a related prayer called “In Times of War.” Special thanks to Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., yet again, for her suggestions and encouragement. Here are links to other prayers written at Rabbi Ruth’s suggestion: “Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue)” and “A Liturgy for 9-11”.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy


8 Responses to “Veterans Day Prayers”

  1. Linda Sipes

    What beautiful prayers! I am Baptist and am going to be speaking to a Veterans group, leading a Memorial Service at a convention. I hope you don’t mind if I quote one of these. It is not reprinted or sold in any way, I just find that it applies to soldiers of all faiths and those who love them!

    • tobendlight

      Please quote the prayer and let people know where you found it. I hope the service will be meaningful to all who participate.

  2. Mary Frances Curns

    I too find these prayers most appropriate for a Vereran’s Day Evening Prayer Service. I am an Episcopal Priest in Jacksonville, NC and seek your OK to pray these prayers that night. (I will look for “share the prayer” link and instructions)

    • tobendlight

      I am glad that you find meaning in them. Share the Prayer says, essentially, that permission is granted to print one copy of any prayer for personal use, so long as the copyright line, including the website, appears on the page. If you would like to make multiple copies, please let me know and we will arrange permission. Alden

  3. Cathy Coffey

    I would like to use one of the prayers in our Veterans Day Prayer Service 11-11-13


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: