Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

To the Soldier, To the Veteran

DF-SC-84-11899This is a prayer of honor for veterans. It’s a three-stanza prayer/poem with a parallel structure in each stanza. It is from a liturgy for Veterans Day. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. This prayer was read at a Veterans Day commemoration at Elon University. Click here to see the video.

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.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to a related prayer called “In Times of War.” Click here for Memorial Day Prayers. I wrote the Veterans Day liturgy at the suggestion of my friend Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., editor of HUC-JIR continuing ed blog Tzeh U’limad. Special thanks to Rabbi Ruth for her suggestions and encouragement. Here are links to other prayers written at her suggestion: “Be’chol Lashon (In Every Tongue)” and “A Liturgy for 9-11”.

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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons


2 Responses to “To the Soldier, To the Veteran”

  1. Susanna Griefen

    I would like to print Prayers in Time of War in our church bulletin in Dummerons VT on Nov. 10th, and have it read responsively. There are about 45 in worship. I will of course credit you if you give permission.

    Susanna Griefen
    Dummerston Congregational Church UCC
    Dummerston VT


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