(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
President Barack Obama on Friday prayed for all the service members who have given their lives in the nation's wars as he proclaimed Memorial Day 2012, to be observed Monday.
"Our nation endures and thrives because of the devotion of our men and women in uniform, who, from generation to generation, carry a burden heavier than any we may ever know," Obama said in his prayer for peace. "On Memorial Day, we honor those who have borne conflict's greatest cost, mourn where the wounds of war are fresh, and pray for a just, lasting peace."
The president said the American fabric was "stitched with stories of sons and daughters who gave their lives in service to the country they loved."
"They were patriots who overthrew an empire and sparked revolution," he said. "They were courageous men and women who strained to hold a young Union together. They were ordinary citizens who rolled back the creeping tide of tyranny, who stood post through a long twilight struggle, who saw terror and extremism threaten our world's security and said, 'I'll go.'"
Behind the sustenance of the country and the safety of its heritage as a free people in a free society are all those who have borne the battle, Obama added. He asked God to "bless the souls of the venerable warriors we have lost." May God "watch over the men and women who serve us now. Today, tomorrow, and in perpetuity, let us give thanks to them by remaining true to the values and virtues for which they fight."
The president proclaimed Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and designated the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. 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."
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers. People visit cemeteries and memorials and place American flags on graves.
Obama requested that the governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, have the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on Monday on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the country 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."