We thank you that there are things worth dying for. We thank you that you have instilled in us a desire for individual freedom within the context of community responsibility that is worth defending with our lives. We thank you for those who have been willing to die and who have in fact died so that others, be they those of their own nation or those of another nation, might have the opportunity to exercise their individual liberties in ways that are best for the community at large.
Thank you for those who as members of our Armed Forces have, ever since our War for Independence, died in service to our country so that their families, their neighbors, their fellow Americans, and even, in a very real sense, their opponents on the battlefield and the countries for which they were fighting, might be free.
Thank you for those who have made the hard decisions to go to war when it was necessary to do so if freedom and responsibility were going to continue to exist and to flourish. Thank you for those leaders who made that terrible decision only after counting and agonizing over the terrible human cost of war. Forgive those leaders who have made decisions to go to war out of self-serving, short-sighted, and even dishonest motives and with callousness toward the human cost.
Thank you for those who have given their lives in service to our country to work behind the scenes, to do the hard work of listening, of talking, of understanding, and of negotiating so that armed conflicts might be avoided and so that problems might be solved without bloodshed.
Thank you for those who have given their lives to remind us of our greatest values and to call us to be our best selves as Americans, even when it put them in the position of swimming against the strong tide of public opinion and when their patriotism was questioned even though their actions were motivated by support for our troops and love for our country. Forgive those whose motives for opposing and protesting were self-serving, self-promoting, and self-protecting.
Today we honor those who have given their lives for our country.
Help us, O God, to honor them by building a world where such sacrifice becomes less and less necessary.