"Bug's Prayer"

Paul Gillcrist photo

The following was given as a benediction at one of the Last Crusader Balls. It expresses the spirit of those who love and serve their country, military and civilian alike.

Commander John J. "Bug" Roach, United States Navy 1944-1991

This evening, rather than pray as individuals, I would like to offer this prayer as a people - this prayer of the nation we have created....in order that we here may better understand who and what we are. Let us pray!

Lord, we are the nation! We celebrate our birthday on July 4th, 1776, with the Declaration of Independence as our birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in our veins because we offer freedom and liberty to all whom are oppressed. We are many things and many people. We are the nation.

We sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to Alaska and Hawaii. Three million square miles throbbing with industry and with life. We are the forest, field, mountain and desert. We are the wheat fields of Kansas, the granite hills of Vermont, and the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. We are the Brooklyn Bridge, grain elevators in Nebraska and the Golden Gate. We are the nation.

We are 213 million living souls, and yet we are the ghosts of millions who have lived and died for us. We are Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. We are Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry. We are Lee, Grant, Abe Lincoln and George Bush. We are the famous and the unknown. We are presidents. We are paupers. We are the nation.

We stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. We remember the Alamo, the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Inchon and the Persian Gulf. When freedom calls, we answer. We left our heroic dead at Belleau Wood, on the rock of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and under the rubble of Beirut. We are the nation.

We are schools and colleges, churches and synagogues. We are a ballot dropped in a box, the harmonious voice of a choir in a cathedral, the crack of a bat and the roar of a crowd in a stadium. We are craftsmen, teachers, businessmen, and judges. We are laborers and nurses. We are parents and we are children. We are soldiers, sailors and airmen. We are peaceful villages, small towns and cities that never sleep. Yes, we are the nation, and these are the things that we are.

We were conceived in freedom, and dear God, if you are willing, in freedom we will spend the rest of our days. May we always be thankful for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. May we be humble to the less fortunate and assist those in need. May we never forget the continuing cost of freedom. May we always remember that if we are to remain the land of the free, we must continue always to be the home of the brave. May our wishbone never be found where our backbone should be. May we possess always, the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep ourselves unshackled, to remain always a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world.

We are the nation. And this is our wish...this is our hope and this is our prayer.


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