I was asked to give an invocation at today’s rededication of the Soldiers Monument in Saltonstall Park, Watertown. Below is my text. Many thanks to all those who worked to restore the monument, all those who came out for the rededication, and all those who have served in the armed forces.
Creating and inspiring One, who has given us the gift of life, the gift of community, and the gift of place –We gather before you in this place knowing the “we are in history and history is in us” (James Baldwin); knowing that we are the beneficiaries of securities and freedoms won and defended by many who came before us; knowing that we are in their debt.
We remember all those who came before us here, generations of men and women whose work and prayers, whose toil and teaching built this Watertown community: in grist mills and woolen mills, in horse and cattle markets, in bakeries and city offices, in schools and shops, in factories and arsenals, gathering from so many places around the world, they offered their best for generations to come.
And especially today we give thanks for those who went from this town to serve our nation. O God of all generations and judge of all nations, we remember them before you with grateful hearts – men and women who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy – those who endured trenches and tents, who sent up prayers for their friends and family back in Watertown from far-flung places, those “for whom bugles sang, saddening the evening air” (Wilfred Owen).
Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share in benefits of true freedom. Grant that in their honor, we who live in a time of divisiveness, fear, political rancor may work for the common good and press for a peaceful shared future for all children.
God of the past, the present, and the future, let light perpetual shine on those honored by this monument which we rededicate today, and let that light shine through us to be a Watertown strong in wisdom, a Watertown strong in service, a Watertown strong in loving-kindness, and a Watertown strong in working for liberty and justice for all. AMEN.