Manny Cabrero,

Chaplain, VVA Chapter 126

Almighty Holy Father, we come before you in prayer because we know about the power of prayer in our lives in its successes and shortcomings. We invoke your presence and blessing at this event where we are gathered with the Friends of Vietnam Veterans Plaza and supporters to continue the work to maintain alive through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial the memory of those 1,741 sons and daughters of NYC who lost their lives in Vietnam.  Dear God, we thank you for the liberty they died for and our continuing ability to lift up their memory as we also ask that you continue to show your mercy to those who have become victims of the distorted mind and wounded spirit caused by the after effects of war, including the devastation of suicide still prevalent among us.   Burden us all here to deliver your compassion, comfort, healing and peace to them and their families.

Lord, we stand on the shoulders of dreamers and visionaries who came before us, many no longer with us, who insisted and toiled for this worthy memorial. Because of this labor and on-going work, family, friends, and visitors can come to reflect at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to learn, honor, and remember about the ultimate sacrifice that New Yorkers made when called to serve their country in the Vietnam war.  May they always be remembered fondly as a guiding light and model to all veterans.

As we mingle with one another here today listening to various speakers, we particularly thank you Lord for this year’s Honoree, Kenneth Fisher, who continues a legacy started by his late uncle Zachary Fisher, who created the Fisher House Foundation and the continuing Fisher Family Charities, which includes the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Intrepid Relief Fund and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum benefitting hundreds of thousands of Veterans and their families across the country.  We likewise are thankful for our brother Veteran Montel Williams whom you are using to inspire many in so many ways.  We thank you for his health and his heart for serving Veterans and countless others through his lectures, books, advice, and life experiences.  Bless them both in their journeys and give them spiritual eyes to see what others can’t and to act as your hands and feet.  

Our world is changing, we are changing.  The natural elements are in destructive upheaval and we are killing each other.  Lord, help us to know you are still in control, to assist those in need and to forgive those who trespass against us. “Our thoughts and prayers are with…” You fill in the blanks as the media gives us the latest tragedy; well, our thoughts and prayers mean little unless we do something – and there is much we need to do.  Lord, guide all the branches of government, at the Federal, State, and local levels to bring your Spirit of peace and unity to our country and build on the ideals of democracy for which we were, and are ready to give our lives.

May our mission today reflect a spirit of service for our Vietnam Veterans.  We who are herein gathered thank you Lord for the work of Friends of Vietnam Veterans Plaza and for the mark they have made upon this City, State and the Veterans community at large.  Give them the strength and resolve to continue as you allow and as you allow us to be remembered kindly. 

All this we pray in your Holy name.  Amen.  

In Memory of

Pat Gualrieri