this memorial day, pray for peace in honor of the dead

Three years ago on Memorial Day I wrote: "This year Memorial Day seems more poignant than usual. So many lives have been lost in the Iraq war. Not to mention the 37 other armed conflicts across the globe." I then went on to list the specific numbers of casualties of the Iraq war which have only increased. (By the way, the most recent numbers list 30 current armed conflicts.)
  • As of Memoria Day 2005 over 1,6000 Americans had been killed in Iraq. This number is now over 4,080. (Source: icasualties.org)
  • As of Memorial Day 2005 there were between 21,000 and 25,000 reported deaths of Iraqi cilivians. This number is now between 84,050 and 91,713. (Source: Iraq Body Count.) These are just specific civilian deaths reported in the media. The actual number is certainly much higher. One survey updated in January of this year estimates civilian deaths to be between 946,000 and 1,120,000. (Source: ORB Survey.)
Three years ago I wrote:

But on this memorial day I do not just remember my countrymen, but my Iraqi brothers and sisters as well. ... All of these people, American and coalition soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and police, and the women, men and children who try to live their lives in the war zone that is Iraq have families and loved ones who mourn them. On this memorial day I keep them all in my prayers and in my heart.

My life in America is so far removed from their reality, even though the mess that is the Iraq war was started in my/our name. To "protect" my/your freedom. ...

I agree with Pope John Paul II who said, "No to war! … It is always a defeat for humanity."
I agree with MLK who said "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows."
I agree with Master Yoda, who "said," "Wars do not make one great."

But on this memorial day I do not protest, but pray. For an end to war. For God’s peace to fill our hearts, and to comfort those who mourn and remember those they have lost. What else can I do?

It's now three years later, and I find myself in the same space, while the conflict has become more and more violent. No matter what your political affiliations, please join me in praying for peace this Memorial day to honor the memories of all those who have died. This has become my simple peace prayer mantra:

May peace fill our hearts, our homes and our world. Amen

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