National Day of Prayer – George W. Bush

National Day of Prayer – George W. Bush

Led in prayer by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right, President George W. Bush joins his Cabinet as they bow their heads Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, before beginning their meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library
Led in prayer by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right, President George W. Bush joins his Cabinet as they bow their heads Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, before beginning their meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Proclamation 7403 – National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, 2001
January 20, 2001

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Nearly 200 years ago, on March 4, 1801, our young Nation celebrated an important milestone in its history, the first transfer of power between political parties, as Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office as President. On this bicentennial of that event, we pause to remember and give thanks to Almighty God for our unbroken heritage of democracy, the peaceful transition of power, and the perseverance of our Government through the challenges of war and peace, want and prosperity, discord and harmony.

President Jefferson also wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time” and asked, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?” Indeed, it is appropriate to mark this occasion by remembering the words of President Jefferson and the examples of Americans of the past and today who in times of both joy and need turn to Almighty God in prayer. Times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character. Today, I seek God’s guidance and His blessings on our land and all our people. Knowing that I cannot succeed in this task without the favor of God and the prayers of the people, I ask all Americans to join with me in prayer and thanksgiving.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 21, 2001, a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving and call upon the citizens of our Nation to gather together in homes and places of worship to pray alone and together and offer thanksgiving to God for all the blessings of this great and good land. On this day, I call upon Americans to recall all that unites us. Let us become a nation rich not only in material wealth but in ideals — rich in justice and compassion and family love and moral courage. I ask Americans to bow our heads in humility before our Heavenly Father, a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors, but to love them, to ask His guidance upon our Nation and its leaders in every level of government.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

Proclamation 7430–National Day of Prayer, 2001
April 27, 2001
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Turning to prayer in times of joy and celebration, strife and tragedy is an integral part of our national heritage. When the first settlers landed on the rocky shores of the New World, they celebrated with prayer, and the practice has continued through our history. In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the citizens of the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a Nation. General George Washington, encamped at Valley Forge, also sought God’s guidance as Americans fought for their independence. The faith of our Founding Fathers established the precedent that prayers and national days of prayer are an honored part of our American way of life.

Continuing in that tradition, many of the men and women who have served at the highest levels of our Nation also have turned to prayer seeking wisdom from the Almighty. President Lincoln, who proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863, once stated: “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.” Today, millions of Americans continue to hold dear that conviction President Lincoln so eloquently expressed. Gathering in churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and homes, we ask for strength, direction, and compassion for our neighbors and ourselves.

The theme of the 2001 National Day of Prayer is “One Nation Under God.” In a prayer written specially for the occasion, Americans are asked to pray for “a moral and spiritual renewal to help us meet the many problems we face.” Special observances are scheduled for all 50 States, with local volunteers planning a variety of activities including prayer breakfasts, concerts, rallies, and student gatherings. These events will bring people of all faiths together, each according to his or her own beliefs, to give thanks to the Almighty and to ask for strength and guidance.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of our Nation to pray each in his or her own manner, seeking God’s blessings on our families and government officials and personal renewal, moral awakening, and a new spirit of harmony across our land. I urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

Remarks at a National Day of Prayer Reception
May 3, 2001

Thank you, all. Thank you and welcome to the White House. It’s great to see members of my Cabinet here. Secretaries Veneman, Martinez, and Paige, thank you all for coming. Leaders of the United States Congress, thank you all for being here, as well.

Shirley, thank you for the State proclamations. I quickly thumbed through to make sure that Florida was there. [Laughter] Otherwise, my little brother might be hearing from me. [Laughter] But it was there. And thanks for the beautiful painting. We know how much work it takes to organize the National Day of Prayer, and all of us thank you for your hard work. You’ve done a very good job.

Wintley, thank you very much for sharing your voice with us. This is the second time I’ve been privileged to hear your voice since I’ve been the President. I hope to hear it a lot more. And Angela, it’s wonderful to see you again. Thank you for your testimony and your beauty and your grace.

And Reverend Rogers, thank you so much for bringing not only your own words of prayer but that of our mutual friend Billy Graham, for whom we continue to pray for his health.

This is a day when our Nation recognizes a power above our power and influence beyond our influence, a guiding wisdom far greater than our own. The American character, it’s strong and confident, but we have never been reluctant to speak of our own dependence on providence.

Our country was founded by great and wise people who were fluent in the language of humility, praise, and petition. Throughout our history, in danger and division, we have always turned to prayer. And our country has been delivered from many serious evils and wrongs because of that prayer.

We cannot presume to know every design of our Creator, or to assert a special claim on His favor. Yet, it is important to pause and recognize our help in ages past and our hope for years to come.

The first President to live in the White House arrived with a prayer. In a letter to his wife written on his second night here, John Adams offered a prayer that Heaven might bless this house and all those who would call it home. One of his successors, Franklin D. Roosevelt, thought enough of that prayer to have it inscribed on a mantelpiece in the State Dining Room, where you can still find it today.

In this house I make many decisions. But as I do so, as I make those decisions, I know as surely as you said that many Americans lift me up in prayer, those prayers are a gracious gift, and Laura and I and my family greatly appreciate them.

America has many traditions of faith and many experiences of prayer. But I suspect that many who pray have something in common: that we may pray for God’s help, but as we do so, we find that God has changed our deepest selves. We learn humility before His will and acceptance of things beyond our understanding. We discover that the most sincere of all prayers can be the simple words, “Thy will be done.” And that is a comfort more powerful than all our plans.

Laura and I really appreciate you being here on this special day. We thank you for your concerns for your country and your love of the Lord. It’s an honor for me to be here, and I would ask that you join me in the State Dining Room for a little fellowship.

God bless America.

 

Proclamation 7444–Prayer For Peace, Memorial Day, 2001
May 25, 2001

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.” These words, spoken by General Dwight D. Eisenhower following Germany’s surrender in 1945, paid tribute to his fallen comrades as he humbly acknowledged that their ultimate sacrifice gave occasion for recognition of his leadership.

Similarly, we stand as a Nation that is strong and deserving of praise. Yet we are humbled, because we remember that the wealth of this Nation’s heritage, the strength of its ideals, and the extent of its freedom came with a tremendous price. These treasures were purchased with the lives of American service men and women, a cost borne prominently by several generations. We are humbled because so many bright futures, hopes, and dreams were sacrificed for the abundance of opportunities we now freely pursue.

Through the course of our Nation’s history, more than 41 million Americans have served the cause of freedom and more than a million have died in its name. On this noble American holiday, we solemnly pause to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service to our Nation. We honor those generations and individuals who fought for liberty and in defiance of tyranny that this unique experiment in self-government might long endure.

At a bridge at Concord, in the muddy trenches of Europe, the rugged mountains of Korea, the dense forests of Asia, or across the burning sands of the Persian Gulf, America’s heroes have advanced democracy around the globe and defended the liberties we hold dear. We are particularly mindful of our fallen patriots as we mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the 10th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm.

We honor the final sacrifice of our service men and women by dedicating our own lives to peace and the defense of freedom. For these ideals they fought, and for these ideals we continue to strive. May we stand with diligence and with humility on the broad shoulders of those whose brave deeds and sacrifice we memorialize today. Let all of us commit this day, whether in public ceremony or in quiet reflection over a single grave, to remember them in fitting tribute.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 28, 2001, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other media to participate in these observances.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Proclamation 7462–National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001
September 13, 2001

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked America in a series of despicable acts of war. They hijacked four passenger jets, crashed two of them into the World Trade Center’s twin towers, and a third into the Headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage. The fourth plane crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, killing all on board but falling well short of its intended target apparently because of the heroic efforts of passengers on board. This carnage, which caused the collapse of both Trade Center towers and the destruction of part of the Pentagon, killed more than 250 airplane passengers and thousands more on the ground.

Civilized people around the world denounce the evildoers who devised and executed these terrible attacks. Justice demands that those who helped or harbored the terrorists be punished–and punished severely. The enormity of their evil demands it. We will use all the resources of the United States and our cooperating friends and allies to pursue those responsible for this evil, until justice is done.

We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous loss. All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives. We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.

Scripture says: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” I call on every American family and the family of America to observe a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, honoring the memory of the thousands of victims of these brutal attacks and comforting those who lost loved ones. We will persevere through this national tragedy and personal loss. In time, we will find healing and recovery; and, in the face of all this evil, we remain strong and united, “one Nation under God.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 14, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I encourage employers to permit their workers time off during the lunch hour to attend the noontime services to pray for our land. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in these solemn observances.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance Service
September 14, 2001

We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our Nation’s sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead and for those who love them.

On Tuesday our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes and bent steel. Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read.

They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced death and in their last moments called home to say, “Be brave,” and, “I love you.” They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers and prevented the murder of others on the ground. They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States and died at their posts. They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these names. We will linger over them and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the Nation. And I assure you, you are not alone.

Just 3 days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: To answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This Nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.

Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet, our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there is a searching and an honesty. At St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, “I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here.” Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.

God’s signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet, the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard and understood.

There are prayers that help us last through the day or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave. We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man, who could have saved himself, stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two officeworkers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.

In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another and an abiding love for our country. Today we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties in both Houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils and American flags, which are displayed in pride and wave in defiance.

Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America because we are freedom’s home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, we ask Almighty God to watch over our Nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn and the promise of a life to come.

As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God’s love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own, and may He always guide our country.

God bless America.

Proclamation 7547 – National Day of Prayer, 2002
April 26, 2002
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Since our Nation’s founding, Americans have turned to prayer for inspiration, strength, and guidance. In times of trial, we ask God for wisdom, courage, direction, and comfort. We offer thanks for the countless blessings God has provided. And we thank God for sanctifying every human life by creating each of us in His image. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we call upon the Almighty to continue to bless America and her people.

Especially since September 11, millions of Americans have been led to prayer. They have prayed for comfort in a time of grief, for understanding in a time of anger, and for protection in a time of uncertainty. We have all seen God’s great faithfulness to our country. America’s enemies sought to weaken and destroy us through acts of terror. None of us would ever wish on anyone what happened on September 11th. Yet tragedy and sorrow none of us would choose have brought forth wisdom, courage, and generosity. In the face of terrorist attacks, prayer provided Americans with hope and strength for the journey ahead.

God has blessed our Nation beyond measure. We give thanks for our families and loved ones, for the abundance of our land and the fruits of labor, for our inalienable rights and liberties, and for a great Nation that leads the world in efforts to preserve those rights and liberties. We give thanks for all those across the world who have joined with America in the fight against terrorism. We give thanks for the men and women of our military, who are fighting to defend our Nation and the future of civilization.

We continue to remember those who are suffering and face hardships. We pray for peace throughout the world.

On this National Day of Prayer, I encourage Americans to remember the words of St. Paul: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2002, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask Americans to pray for God’s protection, to express gratitude for our blessings, and to seek moral and spiritual renewal. I urge all our citizens to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

Remarks at a National Day of Prayer Reception

May 2, 2002

Welcome to the White House. One of the best things about my job is, sometimes I get introduced by my wife—[laughter]— who I love dearly.

Today we continue a tradition that is as old as our Nation itself, setting aside a day in which Americans are encouraged to pray, pray for their neighbors, and pray for our Nation. The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our national heritage, because prayer is a vital part of our national life.

I’m grateful to all of you who remind us that a great people must spend time on bended knee, in humility, searching for wisdom in the presence of the Almighty. I want to thank the Heritage Signature Chorale and Dr. Stanley Thurston for being here today. I want to thank Amy Burton, soloist of the New York City Opera, and we’re sure glad you brought your son. I want to thank Shirley Dobson, who is the chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Thank you for your leadership, Shirley. I want to thank Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie and Dr. Daniel Coughlin for being here as well. I’m honored that you both came. And Lloyd, thank you—and Shirley—for your beautiful comments. It really meant a lot.

When the first Continental Congress met at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia, one of its first official acts was prayer. In 1779, the Day of Prayer Proclamation asked that “Almighty God would grant the blessings of peace to all contending nations, freedom to those who are in bondage, and comfort to the afflicted.”

During our Nation’s darkest hour, our Nation’s greatest President called America back to prayer. President Abraham Lincoln urged his fellow citizens to “look to the redeeming and preserving grace of God.” And Americans wisely accepted President Lincoln’s counsel.

America is a country of faith. And throughout our history, in times of crisis and in times of calm, Americans have always turned to prayer. And this year’s event has special meaning. Since the attacks of September the 11th, millions—millions—of Americans of every religious faith have been led to prayer. They have prayed for comfort in a time of sorrow, for courage in a time of fear, and for understanding in a time of anger. They have prayed for wisdom in the midst of war and for strength on the journey ahead.

These prayers have been made in private homes and in houses of worship, alone and with others, in moments of doubt and in times of thanksgiving. These prayers have been heartfelt, and they have made a tremendous difference. Prayer for others is a generous act. It sweeps away bitterness and heals old wounds. Prayer leads to greater humility and a more grateful spirit. It strengthens our commitment to things that last and things that matter. It deepens our love for one another.

Prayer also deepens faith, reminding us of great truths: Evil and suffering are only for a time; love and hope endure. Even in the world’s most bitter conflicts, prayer reminds us of God’s love and grace, His mercy and faithfulness, the hope He provides, and the peace He promises.

Prayer is central to the lives of countless Americans, including Laura’s and mine. We have been blessed by the prayers of millions of Americans. We could ask for no greater gift from our countrymen.

I want to thank you all for coming here to the White House to celebrate this special day, for your devotion to prayer, and for your love of this country, and for the Lord who has blessed it for so long.

May God bless you all.

 

Proclamation 7567 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2002
May 21, 2002

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Every Memorial Day, Americans remember the debt of gratitude we owe to our veterans who gave their lives for our country. On this important day, communities across our Nation stop to remember and to honor the great sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.

Since its beginnings, our country has faced many threats that have tested its courage. From war-torn battlefields and jungle skirmishes to conflicts at sea and air attacks, generations of brave men and women have fought and died to defeat tyranny and protect our democracy. Their sacrifices have made this Nation strong and our world a better place.

Upwards of 48 million Americans have served the cause of freedom and more than a million have died to preserve our liberty. We also remember the more than 140,000 who were taken prisoner-of-war and the many others who were never accounted for. These memories remind us that the cost of war and the price of peace are great.

The tradition of Memorial Day reinforces our Nation’s resolve to never forget those who gave their last full measure for America. As we engage in the war against terrorism, we also pray for peace. When America emerged from the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called on all Americans to “cherish a just and lasting peace.” In these extraordinary times, our Nation has once again been challenged, and Lincoln’s words remain our guiding prayer.

We continue to rely on our brave and steadfast men and women in uniform to defend our freedom. United as a people, we pray for peace throughout the world. We also pray for the safety of our troops. This new generation follows an unbroken line of good, courageous, and unfaltering heroes who have never let our country down.

As we commemorate this noble American holiday, we honor those who fell in defense of freedom. We honor them in our memory through solemn observances, with the love of a grateful Nation.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 27, 2002, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other media to participate in these observances.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7588 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2002
August 31, 2002

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

As we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the thousands of innocent lives lost on that day, we recall as well the outpouring of compassion and faith that swept our Nation in the face of the evil done that day. In designating September 6-8 as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, I ask all Americans to join together in cities, communities, neighborhoods, and places of worship to honor those who were lost, to pray for those who grieve, and to give thanks for God’s enduring blessings on our land. And let us, through prayer, seek the wisdom, patience, and strength to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice and to press for a world at peace.

For the families and friends of those who died, each new day has required new courage. Their perseverance has touched us deeply, and their noble character has brought us hope. We stand with them in faith, and we cherish with them the memory of those who perished.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the words of the Psalms brought comfort to many. We trust God always to be our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Believing that One greater than ourselves watches over our lives and over this Nation, we continue to place our trust in Him.

The events of September 11 altered our lives, the life of this Nation, and the world. Americans responded to terror with resolve and determination, first recovering, now rebuilding, and, at all times, committing ourselves to protecting our people and preserving our freedom. And we have found hope and healing in our faith, families, and friendships. As we confront the challenges before us, I ask you to join me during these Days of Prayer and Remembrance in praying for God’s continued protection and for the strength to overcome great evil with even greater good.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 6, through Sunday, September 8, 2002, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite the people of the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7672 – National Day of Prayer, 2003
April 30, 2003
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

We are a Nation whose people turn to prayer in times of our most heartfelt sorrow and our moments of greatest joy. On this National Day of Prayer, first called for more than 225 years ago by the Continental Congress, we come together to thank God for our Nation’s many blessings, to acknowledge our need for His wisdom and grace, and to ask Him to continue to watch over our country in the days ahead.

America welcomes individuals of all backgrounds and religions, and our citizens hold diverse beliefs. In prayer, we share the universal desire to speak and listen to our Maker and to seek the plans He has for our lives. We recognize the ways that He has blessed our land abundantly, and we offer thanks for these gifts and for the generosity of our Nation in helping those in need. We are grateful for our freedom, for God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, and for a hope that will never be shaken.

Today, our Nation is strong and prosperous. Our Armed Forces have achieved great success on the battlefield, but challenges still lie ahead. Prayer will not make our path easy, yet prayer can give us strength and hope for the journey.

As we continue to fight against terror, we ask the Almighty to protect all those who battle for freedom throughout the world and our brave men and women in uniform, and we ask Him to shield innocents from harm. We recognize the sacrifice of our military families and ask God to grant them peace and strength. We will not forget the men and women who have fallen in service to America and to the cause of freedom. We pray that their loved ones will receive God’s comfort and grace.

In this hour of history’s calling, Americans are bowing humbly in churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and in their own homes, in the presence of the Almighty. This day, I ask our Nation to join me in praying for the strength to meet the challenges before us, for the wisdom to know and do what is right, for continued determination to work towards making our society a more compassionate and decent place, and for peace in the affairs of men.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2003, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to pray, each after his or her own faith, in thanksgiving for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 1, 2003

Thanks for coming. Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m glad you’re here at the people’s house. Laura and I welcome you. We’re really pleased to have you here. I want to thank each of you for participating in the National Day of Prayer. It’s a good time to be praying. Every day is a good day to pray. [Laughter]

Today we recognize the many ways our country has been blessed, and we acknowledge the source of those blessings. Millions of Americans seek guidance every day in prayer to the Almighty God. I am one of them. I also know that many Americans remember Laura and me in their prayers, and we are so very, very grateful.

I want to thank General Hicks, chaplain of the entire U.S. Army, for being here today, and thank you for your service. Shirley, thank you as well for once again being the chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer. I see you brought your husband along too. [Laughter]

Luis, muchas gracias. Thank you for your beautiful prayer. Father Joe Wallroth is going to be with us in a second. I’m honored you are here, Father.

I really want to thank the Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls. It is a fabulous way to begin a morning, to walk down the corridor here and hear your beautiful voices echo throughout this magnificent house. We’re really glad you’re here, and thank you for sharing your talents. Julie, thank you as well for coming. Gosh, I could have sat here and listened all day to your singing. [Laughter]

We’ve got a lot of military chaplains who are here. I want to thank you for your service to your country and to those who wear our uniform. You make a tremendous difference in the lives, the daily lives, of people who are frightened and lonely and worried and strong and courageous. I appreciate so very much what you have done and will continue to do.

So many great events in our Nation’s history were shaped by men and women who found strength and direction in prayer. The first President to live in this house composed a prayer on his second evening here for all who would follow him. Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, knew that his burdens were too great for any man, so he carried them to God in prayer. Over the radio on D-day in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt prayed for God’s blessing on our mission to “set free a suffering humanity.”

This past month has been another time of testing for America and another time of intense prayer. Americans have been praying for the safety of our troops and for the protection of innocent life in Iraq. Americans prayed that war would not be necessary and now pray that peace will be just and lasting.

We continue to pray for the recovery of the wounded and for the comfort of all who have lost a loved one. The Scriptures say, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him.” Calling on God in prayer brings us nearer to each other. After his son was rescued from northern Iraq, the father of Sergeant James Riley of New Jersey said, “We have been flooded with people’s prayers. Everyone is praying for us, and we are so grateful.”

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, many Americans have registered online to adopt a service man or woman in prayer. Others wear prayer bracelets to remind themselves to intercede on behalf of our troops. In Fountain City, Wisconsin, Lynn Cox has collected at least 80 Bibles to send to those serving in Iraq. In Green, Ohio, a group of parishioners at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church has made 2,000 rosaries for our troops. Margaret Brown, who helped start the group, said, “We want them to know that someone back here is holding them up in prayer and that God is so powerful He can supply all their needs.”

To pray for someone else is an act of generosity. We set our own cares aside and look to strengthen another. Prayer teaches humility. We find that the plan of the Creator is sometimes very different from our own. Yet, we learn to depend on His loving will, bowing to purposes we don’t always understand. Prayer can lead to a grateful heart, turning our minds to all the gifts of life and to the great works of God.

Prayer can also contribute to the life of our Nation. America is a strong nation, in part because we know the limits of human strength. All strength must be guided by wisdom and justice and humility. We pray that God will grant us that wisdom, that sense of justice, and that humility in our current challenges and in the years ahead.

I thank you all for helping to keep prayer an integral part of our national life. May God bless each one of you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

 

Proclamation 7681 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2003
May 22, 2003

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Memorial Day, America undertakes its solemn duty to remember the sacred list of brave Americans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and the security of our Nation. By honoring these proud Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen lost throughout our country’s history, we renew our commitment to upholding the democratic ideals they fought and died to preserve.

Each Memorial Day, we pray for peace throughout the world, remembering what was gained and what was lost during times of war. From the bravery of the men at Valley Forge, to the daring of Normandy, the courage of Iwo Jima, and the steady resolve in Afghanistan and Iraq, our men and women in uniform have won for us every hour that we live in freedom. During this year’s observance, we particularly recognize the courageous spirit of the men and women in our Nation’s Armed Forces who are working with our coalition partners to restore civil order, provide critical humanitarian aid, and renew Afghanistan and Iraq. As we honor those who have served and have been lost, we better understand the meaning of patriotism and citizenship, and we pledge that their sacrifices will not be in vain.

Throughout our history, the decency, character, and idealism of our military troops have turned enemies into allies and oppression into hope. In all our victories, American soldiers have fought to liberate, not to conquer; and today, the United States joins with a strong coalition in the noble cause of liberty and peace for the world. On this day, America honors her own, but we also recognize the shared victories and hardships of our allied forces who have served and fallen alongside our troops.

The noble sacrifices of our service men and women will not be forgotten. Every name, every life is a loss to our military, to our Nation, and to their loved ones. Americans stand with the families who grieve, and we share in their great sorrow and great pride. There will be no homecoming on this Earth for those lost in battle, but we know that this reunion will one day come.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 26, 2003, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other media to participate in these observances.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7701 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2003
September 4, 2003

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

As we approach the second anniversary of September 11, 2001, we remember all that we lost as Americans and recognize all that we have witnessed about the character of America. During these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we honor those who were killed and their families, and we ask God for strength and wisdom as we carry out the noble mission that our Nation began that morning.

The passage of time cannot erase the pain and devastation that were inflicted on our people. We will always remember those who were brutally taken from us. And we ask God to comfort the loved ones left behind; their courage and determination have inspired our Nation.

We thank God for the unity and compassion Americans have demonstrated since September 11, 2001. The great strength of America is the heart and soul of the American people. And we will continue to help those who are hurting or are in need.

We pray that God watch over our brave men and women in uniform. We are grateful to them, and to their families, for their service and sacrifice. We pray for peace and ask God for patience and resolve in our war against terror and evil.

This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7, 2003, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite the people of the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7780 – National Day of Prayer, 2004
April 30, 2004
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

In his first Inaugural Address, President George Washington prayed that the Almighty would preserve the freedom of all Americans. On the National Day of Prayer, we celebrate that freedom and America’s great tradition of prayer. The National Day of Prayer encourages Americans of every faith to give thanks for God’s many blessings and to pray for each other and our Nation.

Prayer is an opportunity to praise God for His mighty works, His gift of freedom, His mercy, and His boundless love. Through prayer, we recognize the limits of earthly power and acknowledge the sovereignty of God. According to Scripture, “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him . . . He also will hear their cry, and save them.” Prayer leads to humility and a grateful heart, and it turns our minds to the needs of others.

On this National Day of Prayer, we pray especially for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are serving around the world to defend the cause of liberty. We are grateful for their courage and sacrifice and ask God to comfort their families while they are away from home. We also pray that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and throughout the Greater Middle East, may live in safety and freedom. During this time, we continue to ask God’s blessing for our Nation, granting us strength to meet the challenges ahead and wisdom as we work to build a more peaceful future for all.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2004, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.
Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 6, 2004


Thank you all. Please sit down. Please be seated. Thank you all. Thanks for coming. Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. I’m honored to join you at this important annual event.

 

Since the Continental Congress sat in Philadelphia, America has, from time to time, set aside a national day of prayer. Under a law signed by President Ronald Reagan, that day comes every year on the first Thursday in May. That would be today. [Laughter]

Today in our Nation’s Capital and around the country, we pause to acknowledge our reliance on Almighty God, to join in gratitude for His blessings and to seek His guidance in our lives and for our Nation.

Prayer and songs of praise go together, and we’re really thankful this afternoon for the beautiful music of the Washington Bach Consort, led by J. Reilly Lewis. Thank you all for being here. And we are thankful for the voice of Beth Cram Porter. I mean, what a voice. [Laughter] Thank you.

We are as grateful as well to all the organizers of the National Day of Prayer and especially for the gracious leadership of Shirley Dobson. We’re also glad you brought Jim with you. [Laughter]

Colonel Oliver North is the 2004 National Day of Prayer Honorary Chairman. Thank you for taking on the job. I appreciate it. I appreciate Dr. Barry Black, the Chaplain of the United States Senate. I asked him if he had any one-liners before I came up here. [Laughter] I appreciate Father Daniel Coughlin, who will join us shortly. And Rabbi, thank you for coming. Rabbi Weinreb, I’m honored that you’re here. I appreciate your reading. I also want to welcome Vonette Bright, the former National Day of Prayer Task Force chairman. Vonette, we’re honored you’re with us. Thank you for coming.

At so many crucial points in the life of America, we have been a nation at prayer. Abraham Lincoln, from this house, called the Nation to prayer in the darkest days of the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt, 60 years ago on D-day, led the Nation in prayer over the radio, asking for God to watch over our sons in battle.

A prayerful spirit has always been a central part of our national tradition, and it remains a vital part of our national character. Americans of every faith and every tradition turn daily to God in reverence and humility. We bring our cares to Him knowing He is our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.

It was Lincoln who called Americans “the almost chosen people.” [Laughter] And at—that word “almost” makes quite a difference. [Laughter] Americans do not presume to equate God’s purposes with any purpose of our own. God’s will is greater than any man or any nation built by men. He works His will. He finds His children within every culture and every tribe. And while every human enterprise must end, His kingdom will have no end.

Our part, our calling is to align our hearts and action with God’s plan, insofar as we can know it. A humble heart is not an indifferent heart. We cannot be neutral in the face of injustice or cruelty or evil. God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know He is on the side of justice. And it is the deepest strength of America that from the hour of our founding, we have chosen justice as our goal.

Our greatest failures as a nation have come when we lost sight of that goal, in slavery, in segregation, and in every wrong that has denied the value and dignity of life. Our finest moments have come when we have faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizens and for the people of other lands. And through our Nation’s history, we have turned to prayer for wisdom to know the good and for the courage to do the good.

Many people in every age have made the same request of the wise and the holy: Teach us to pray. One of the answers begins with “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” That answer has guided people through two millennia. In that example, we learn to give praise where it is due. We recognize that all that we have and all that we are come as gifts, and it is natural to be grateful to the Giver.

Americans, on this National Day of Prayer, are thankful. We’re thankful for our freedom, for so many blessings, large and small, and we’re thankful for this wonderful land we call home.

In prayer, we offer petitions, because the Maker of the Universe knows our cares and our needs. For our Nation today, the need is great, as young men and women face danger in our defense, for the sake of freedom, and for the sake of peace. We pray that God’s hand will protect them and deliver them safely home. We pray for the loved ones who anxiously await their return. And we pray for the families that have known great loss, that they might receive God’s peace in the midst of their sadness.

Prayer also teaches us to trust, to accept that God’s plan unfolds in His time, not our own. That trust is not always easy, as we discover in our own lives, but trust is the source of ultimate confidence. We affirm that all of life and all of history rests entirely on the character of our creation and our Creator. And His love and His mercy extend to all and endure forever.

May God bless you all.

Proclamation 7791 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2004
May 26, 2004

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty’s blessings.

From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to the Persian Gulf and today’s operations in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service. As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans who have died to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 citizens who were prisoners of war, and all those who were declared missing in action. We also honor our veterans for their dedication to America and their sacrifice.

This year, we honor many heroes by observing the 60th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, and by dedicating the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. In a radio address on June 6, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt described these service members as the “pride of our Nation,” who struggled to preserve our civilization. The fallen from that fateful day and that war will always be remembered. They hold a cherished place in the history of the United States and in the memories of the people they liberated.

Today, all who wear the uniform of the United States are serving at a crucial hour in history, and each has answered a great call to serve our Nation on the front lines of freedom. As we continue to fight terrorism and promote peace and freedom, let us pray for the safety and strength of our troops, for God’s blessing on them and their families, and for those who have lost loved ones.

On this Memorial Day, we honor all of our fallen soldiers, their commitment to our country, and their legacy of patriotism and sacrifice. By giving their lives in the cause of freedom, these heroes have protected and inspired all Americans.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 31, 2004, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other media to participate in these observances.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7811 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2004
September 10, 2004

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On September 11, 2001, America was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We remember the tragedy of that day. We remember the images of fire, and the final calls of love, and the courage of rescuers who saw death and did not flee. We remember the many good lives that ended too soon. We remember the families left behind to carry a burden of sorrow; they have shown a courage of their own. During this year’s National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, Americans join together to pray for those who were lost, and for their loved ones.

Since that day, our Nation has waged a relentless war against terror and evil. We pray for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are serving our country on the front lines of this war. They have answered a great call, and our Nation is grateful for their courage, love of country, and dedication to duty. We recognize the sacrifice of military families and pray that they find comfort in faith and in knowing that their loved ones are serving an historic cause – defending our country and advancing peace and freedom in the world.

On this third anniversary of September 11th, we feel the warm courage of national unity – a unity of grief and a unity of resolve. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless America.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 10, through Sunday, September 12, 2004, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite the people of the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Proclamation 7896 – National Day of Prayer, 2005
May 3, 2005
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Since our Nation’s earliest days, prayer has given strength and comfort to Americans of all faiths. Our Founding Fathers relied on their faith to guide them as they built our democracy. Today, we continue to be inspired by God’s blessings, mercy, and boundless love. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we humbly acknowledge our reliance on the Almighty, express our gratitude for His blessings, and seek His guidance in our daily lives.

Throughout our history, our Nation has turned to prayer for strength and guidance in times of challenge and uncertainty. The Continental Congress, meeting in 1775, asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a new Nation. Throughout the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued exhortations to prayer, calling upon the American people to humble themselves before their Maker and to serve all those in need. At the height of World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt led our citizens in prayer over the radio, asking for God to protect our sons in battle. Today, our Nation prays for those who serve bravely in the United States Armed Forces in difficult missions around the world, and we pray for their families.

Across our country, Americans turn daily to God in reverence. We ask Him to care for all those who suffer or feel helpless, knowing that God sees their needs and calls on us to meet them. As our first President wrote in 1790, “May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths . . .”. As we face the challenges of our times, God’s purpose continues to guide us, and we continue to trust in the goodness of His plans.

The Congress by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the freedom of religion by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2005, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the liberty and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 5, 2005

The President. Good morning, and welcome to the White House. Laura and I are honored to join you on this important occasion.

I want to thank Shirley Dobson, the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Thank you for organizing this event, and thank you for your wonderful comments. I’m glad to see you brought your husband, Jim, with you. [Laughter] It’s good to have Vonette Bright with us; welcome. I appreciate my fellow Texan, Max Lucado, for his wonderful prayer. Thank you very much; welcome. I’m glad you and Denalyn are with us. Rabbi, thank you for your reading of the psalm. It’s good to have your family here; welcome. I appreciate Father Charles Pope, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church here in DC. Kind of sounded more like a Baptist preacher to me. [Laughter]

Laura and I are proud Methodists, and we’re pleased to be here with Bishop Peter Weaver, who is the president of the Council of Methodist Bishops, who will deliver the closing prayer. Thank you.

It’s such an honor to be here with the St. Olaf Choir led by Anton Armstrong. You’ve got such beautiful music. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m sure they’re having a prayerful moment right now—[laughter]—praying that I hurry up and finish because they have been standing for quite a while. [Laughter]

The National Day of Prayer is an annual event established in 1952 by an Act of the United States Congress. Yet this day is part of a broader tradition that reaches back to the beginnings of America. From the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock to the launch of the American Revolution, the men and women who founded this Nation in freedom relied on prayer to protect and preserve it.

Today, prayer continues to play an important part in the personal lives of many Americans. Every day, millions of us turn to the Almighty in reverence and humility. Every day, our churches and synagogues and mosques and temples are filled with men and women who pray to our Maker. And almost every day, I am given a special reminder of this great generosity of spirit when someone comes up and says, “Mr. President, I’m praying for you.”

Prayer has been an important part of American public life as well. Many of our forefathers came to these shores seeking the freedom to worship. The first Continental Congress began by asking the Almighty for the wisdom that would enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. And when our Founders provided that sure foundation in the Declaration of Independence, they declared it a self-evident truth that our right to liberty comes from God.

And so we pray as a nation for three main reasons. We pray to give thanks for our freedom. Freedom is our birthright because the Creator wrote it into our common human nature. No government can ever take a gift from God away. And in our great country, among the freedoms we celebrate is the freedom to pray as you wish or not at all. And when we offer thanks to our Creator for the gift of freedom, we acknowledge that it was meant for all men and women and for all times.

Second, we pray for help in defending the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it. Washington prayed at Valley Forge. Franklin Roosevelt sent American troops off to liberate a continent with his D-day prayer. Today, we pray for the troops who are defending our freedom against determined enemies around the globe. We seek God’s blessing for the families they have left behind, and we commit to Heaven’s care those brave men and women he has called home.

Audience members. Amen.

The President. Finally, we pray to acknowledge our dependence on the Almighty. Prayerful people understand the limits of human strength. We recognize that our plans are not always God’s plans. Yet we know that a God who created us for freedom is not indifferent to injustice or cruelty or evil. So we ask that our hearts may be aligned with His and that we may be given the strength to do what is right and help those in need. We who ask for God’s help for ourselves have a particular obligation to care for the least of our brothers and sisters within our midst.

During the funeral for Abraham Lincoln, Bishop Matthew Simpson relayed a story about a minister who told our 16th President that he hoped the Lord was on his side. Lincoln wisely replied that he was more concerned that he was on the side of the Lord, because the Lord was always on the side of right.

Freedom is a divine gift that carries with it a tremendous human responsibility. The National Day of Prayer is a day that we ask that our Nation, our leaders, and our people use the freedom we have been given wisely. And so we pray as Americans have always prayed, with confidence in God’s purpose, with hope for the future, and with the humility to ask God’s help to do what is right.

Thank you for coming. May God bless.

Proclamation 7905 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2005
May 20, 2005

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our Nation. When the stakes were highest, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen answered the call of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice for the security of our country and the peace of the world.

Throughout our Nation’s history, members of the Armed Forces have taken great risks to keep America strong and free. These proud patriots have defended the innocent, freed the oppressed, and helped spread the promise of liberty to all corners of the earth. In serving our Nation, they have been unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, and unmatched in decency. Because of their selfless courage, millions of people who once lived under tyranny now are free, and America is more secure.

On Memorial Day, we remember that this history of great achievement has been accompanied by great sacrifice. To secure our freedom, many heroic service members have given their lives. This year we mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, and we remember the Americans who died on distant shores defending our Nation in that war. On Memorial Day and all year long, we pray for the families of the fallen and show our respect for the contributions these men and women have made to the story of freedom. Our grateful Nation honors their selfless service, and we acknowledge a debt that is beyond our power to repay.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I urge the media to participate in these observances.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 7925 – National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina
September 8, 2005

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in our Nation’s history and has caused unimaginable devastation and heartbreak throughout the Gulf Coast Region. A vast coastline of towns and communities has been decimated. Many lives have been lost, and hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are suffering great hardship. To honor the memory of those who lost their lives, to provide comfort and strength to the families of the victims, and to help ease the burden of the survivors, I call upon all Americans to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service.

As we observe a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, we pledge our support for those who have been injured and for the communities that are struggling to rebuild. We offer thanks to God for the goodness and generosity of so many Americans who have come together to provide relief and bring hope to fellow citizens in need. Our Nation is united in compassion for the victims and in resolve to overcome the tremendous loss that has come to America. We will strive together in this effort, and we will prevail through perseverance and prayer.

Americans are reaching out to those who suffer by opening their hearts, homes, and communities. Their actions demonstrate the greatest compassion one person may show to another: to love your neighbor as yourself. Across our Nation, so many selfless deeds reflect the promise of the Scripture: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.” I encourage all Americans to respond with acts of kindness in the days ahead. By contributing time, money, or needed goods to a relief organization and by praying for the survivors and those in recovery efforts, we can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those in need.

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath resulted in a considerable loss of life. We pray that God will bless the souls of the lost, and that He will comfort their families and friends and all lives touched by this disaster. As the American people unite to help those who are hurting, we share a determination to stand by those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the months and years ahead as they rebuild their lives and reclaim their future. We are determined that the Gulf Coast region will rise again. The tasks before us are enormous, and so is the heart of America. We will continue to comfort and care for the survivors. We will once again show the world that the worst adversities bring out the best in the American people.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 16, 2005, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate observances. I also encourage all Americans to remember those who have suffered in the disaster by offering prayers and giving their hearts and homes for those who now, more than ever, need our compassion and our support.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Proclamation 7928 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2005
September 9, 2005

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Americans will always remember the terrible events and violent cruelty of September 11, 2001. We will always honor the many innocent lives that were lost, and we will never forget the heroism of passengers, first responders, and others on that day. During this year’s National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we pay tribute to the memory of those taken from us in the terrorist attacks in New York, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. We pray for the families left behind who continue to inspire us through their steadfast character, courage, and determination.

In the time since September 11, 2001, Americans have come together to defend America and advance freedom. We are grateful to our brave men and women in uniform who are making daily sacrifices at home and at posts around the globe, and we pray for their safety as they defend our liberty. In the war on terror, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to protect our way of life and did not live to make the journey home. We honor their memories, and we pray for their families.

The war that began for America on September 11, 2001, continues to call on the courage of our men and women in uniform and the perseverance of our citizens. The past 4 years have brought many challenges and sacrifices, yet we have much reason to be thankful and hopeful about the future. America has become more secure as terrorists have been brought to justice, two of the most brutal and aggressive regimes have ended, and freedom has spread in the Middle East and around the world. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to defend our freedom and lay the foundations of peace for our children and grandchildren.

During these Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we give thanks to the Almighty for our freedom, and we acknowledge our dependence on the Giver of this gift. Four years after September 11, 2001, we remember the lives lost and pray for God’s continued blessings on their families and our Nation.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 9, through Sunday, September 11, 2005, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate ceremonies.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance Service
September 16, 2005


On this Day of Prayer and Remembrance, our Nation remains in the shadow of a storm that departed 2 weeks ago. We’re humbled by the vast and indifferent might of nature and feel small beside its power. We commend the departed to God. We mourn with those who mourn, and we ask for strength in the work ahead.

The destruction is immense, covering a city, a coastline, a region. Yet the hurt always comes down to one life, one family. We’ve seen the panic of loved ones separated from each other, the lonely pain of people whose earthly possessions were swept away, and the uncertainty of men and women and children driven away from the lives they knew. Many did not survive the fury of the storm. Many who did ask, “Why?” and wonder, “What comes next?”

In this hour of suffering, we’re prayerful. In a wounded region, so many place their faith in a God who hears and helps. And so many are bringing their grief to a Savior acquainted with grief. Our Nation joins with them to pray for comfort and sorrow, for the reunion of separated families, and a holy rest for the ones who died.

Through prayer, we look for ways to understand the arbitrary harm left by this storm and the mystery of undeserved suffering. And in our search, we’re reminded that God’s purposes are sometimes impossible to know here on Earth. Yet even as we’re humbled by forces we cannot explain, we take comfort in the knowledge that no one is ever stranded beyond God’s care. The Creator of wind and water is also the source of even a greater power, a love that can redeem the worst tragedy, a love that is stronger than death.

In this hour of suffering, our Nation is thankful. We have been inspired by acts of courage and goodness: Coastguardsmen and military personnel reaching out of helicopters and lifting victims from rooftops; firefighters wading through mud and debris to search for victims and survivors; doctors and nurses defying danger so their patients might live. Many of those who saved others lost their own homes and were separated from their own families. And many stories of heroism and rescue will never be told because they are known to God alone.

We’re thankful for a spirit, seen across the gulf coast, that faces the worst and chooses to hope. We’re thankful as well for the many ordinary citizens who heard the cries of neighbors and answered them. Across the country, Americans saw the hungry and gave them something to eat, saw the thirsty and gave them something to drink, saw strangers and invited them in. One man who was rescued and given shelter after the storm said, “I didn’t think there was so much love in the world.”

In this hour of suffering, our Nation is also mindful of the work ahead. Through this tragedy, great duties have come to our Nation. The destruction of this hurricane was beyond any human power to control, but the restoration of broken communities and disrupted lives now rests in our hands. And we accept this responsibility not as a burden or a chore but as an opportunity to serve our fellow Americans, as they would do for us.

This task will measure our unity as a people. Americans of every race and religion were touched by this storm, yet some of the greatest hardship fell upon citizens already facing lives of struggle, the elderly, the vulnerable, and the poor. And this poverty has roots in generations of segregation and discrimination that closed many doors of opportunity. As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the legacy of inequality. Let us deliver new hope to communities that were suffering before the storm. As we rebuild homes and businesses, we will renew our promise as a land of equality and decency. And one day, Americans will look back at the response to Hurricane Katrina and say that our country grew not only in prosperity but in character and justice.

On this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, we pledge ourselves to the demanding work of revival and renew the faith and hope that will carry that work to completion. In the worst of storms and in the rush of flood waters, even the strongest faith can be tested. Yet the Scriptures assure us, “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it.”

So now we go forward, confident in the good heart of America and trusting that even among the ruins, the love of God remains at work.

May God bless and keep the souls of the lost. May His love touch all those in need, and may He always watch over the United States of America. God bless.

 

 

Proclamation 8012 – National Day of Prayer, 2006
May 3, 2006
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Throughout our Nation’s history, our citizens have prayed and come together before God to offer Him gratitude, reflect on His will, seek His aid, and respond to His grace. On this National Day of Prayer, we thank God for His many blessings and His care of our country.

God has greatly blessed the American people, and in 1789, George Washington proclaimed: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor.” Americans remain a prayerful and thankful people. We pray for the safety of our troops as they carry out dangerous missions with courage and compassion, and we remember the strength and sacrifice of their families. We pray for the good people of the Gulf Coast region as they work to rebuild their communities after the devastating hurricanes of 2005, and we thank God for the volunteers who have opened their hearts to help their neighbors in a time of need. We pray for the protection of innocent lives and for the expansion of peace and liberty throughout the world.

Through prayer, our faith is strengthened, our hearts are humbled, and our lives are transformed. May our Nation always have the humility to trust in the goodness of God’s plans.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our culture and to respect the freedom of religion by recognizing each year a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 4, 2006, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance and protection. I urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 4, 2006


Welcome to the White House. I am really glad you’re here. Thanks for coming. And I’m honored to join you for the National Day of Prayer. On this special day, we give thanks for the many ways that America has been blessed, and we acknowledge the Almighty, who is the source of these blessings.

I appreciate the chairman of the National Day of Prayer, Shirley Dobson. I notice you brought your old husband with you too. [Laughter] Thank you for organizing this event here at the White House and around the Nation.

Mrs. Bright, it’s good to see you. Thank you; welcome. I’m glad you’re back again. Dr. Blackaby, thank you very much, sir, for being the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. And we welcome Marilynn as well.

I want to thank the members of the Cabinet who are here. Thank you all for coming. Appreciate you taking time out of your day to be here to join.

I’m glad to see my friend Archbishop Demetrios. How are you, sir? Thanks for coming. I appreciate the military chaplains who are here. Thanks for administering to the needs and souls of the men and women who wear the uniform. Yours is an important job, and I’m grateful, as your Commander in Chief, for what you do.

I want to thank Rabbi Ciment, Father Connor, and Jay Dennis for joining us. Thank you for your prayers and your strong statements.

I thank Rebecca St. James for your beautiful music. We’re proud you’re here. I want to thank those who accompanied you. About the coat—[laughter]—your answer is, it’s the voice that matters—[laughter]— and the spirit behind the voice.

And, Gail, thank you for coming as well. We’re proud you’re here. Thanks for sharing with us.

America is a nation of prayer. It’s impossible to tell the story of our Nation without telling the story of people who pray. The first pilgrims came to this land with a yearning for freedom. They stepped boldly onto the shores of a New World, and many of them fell to their knees to give thanks.

At decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables, we are a people humbled and strengthened and blessed by prayer. During the darkest days of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress and George Washington—I call him the first George W.—[laughter]— urged citizens to pray and to give thanks and to ask for God’s protection.

More than two centuries since our first National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, we continue to ask for God’s guidance in our own lives and in the life our Nation. Each year, thousands of citizens write letters and send cards to the White House that mention their prayers for this Nation and this Office.

In my travels across the great land, a comment that I hear often from our fellow citizens is, “Mr. President, I pray for you and your family.” It’s amazing how many times a total stranger walks up and says that to me. You’d think they’d say, “How about the bridge?” or, “How about filling the potholes?” [Laughter] No, they say, “I’ve come to tell you I pray for you, Mr. President.”

And the only thing I know to do is to look at them in the eye and say, “That is the greatest gift that a fellow citizen can do for those of us who have been entrusted to lead our country.” And for that—[applause]. And so I thank thanks—I say thanks to the millions of Americans who pray each day for our Nation, our troops, and our elected leaders.

Prayer is a gift from Almighty God that transforms us, whether we bow our heads in solitude or offer swift and silent prayers in times of trial. Prayer humbles us by reminding us of our place in creation. Prayer strengthens us by reminding us that God loves and cares for each and every soul in His creation. And prayer blesses us by reminding us that there is a divine plan that stands above all human plans.

In the stillness and peace of prayer, we surrender our will to God’s will, and we learn to serve His eternal purposes. By opening ourselves to God’s priorities, our hearts are stirred, and we are inspired to action—to feed the hungry, to reach out to the poor, to bring aid to a widow or to an orphan or to the less fortunate.

On this day, we also remember that we are a people united by our love for freedom, even when we differ in our personal beliefs. In America, we are free to profess any faith we choose—or no faith at all. What brings us together is our shared desire to answer the call to serve something greater than ourselves.

Over the past 5 years, I have watched the American people answer this call. Some serve their fellow man on distant shores, placing themselves in harm’s way so that others might live in freedom. Others serve in our Nation’s armies of compassion, bringing comfort and kindness to suffering communities at home and abroad. In millions of acts of service, the American people have shown the good heart of our Nation.

From our Nation’s prayerful beginnings, America has grown and prospered. Through prayer, we humbly recognize our continued dependence on divine providence.

I want to thank you all for keeping prayer a part of our national life. May God bless each one of you, and may God continue to bless our Nation.

And now it is my honor to welcome Reverend Jay Dennis.

 

Proclamation 8019 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2006
May 16, 2006

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Throughout our history, the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States have placed the security of our Nation before their own safety. America will be forever grateful for their service and sacrifice. On Memorial Day, we honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Defending the ideals of our Nation has required the service and sacrifice of those from every generation. From Valley Forge, across Europe and Asia, and in Afghanistan and Iraq, courageous Americans have given their lives so that others could live in freedom. These Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen took an oath to defend America, and they upheld that oath with bravery and decency. They have liberated the oppressed, spread freedom and peace, and set a standard of courage and compassion for our Nation. All who enjoy the blessings of liberty live in their debt.

This debt of gratitude extends also to the families who stood by our servicemen and women in times of war and times of peace. Each of the fallen has left behind loved ones who carry a burden of grief, and all Americans are inspired by the strength of these families.

At this important time in the history of freedom, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our liberty. These men and women carry on the legacy of our Nation’s fallen heroes and demonstrate that the United States Armed Forces remain the greatest force for freedom in human history.

Those who lost their lives in the defense of freedom helped protect our citizens and lay the foundation of peace for people everywhere. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation pays tribute to their personal courage, love of country, and dedication to duty.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. I encourage the media to participate in these observances. I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 8046 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2006
September 5, 2006

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

This year, we mark the fifth anniversary of the brutal and ruthless terrorist attacks carried out against our Nation on September 11, 2001. We will always remember the thousands of lives lost, and the innocent men, women, and children forever changed by those acts of evil. During these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we honor the heroism of the police officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, members of the military, and private citizens who responded selflessly in the face of terror. We also honor the courage and spirit of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives who continue to grieve for their irreplaceable loss.

As we pray for the families of the victims and reflect upon that defining moment in our history, we are inspired by the knowledge that from the pain and sorrow of that September morning rose a Nation united by our love for freedom. We remember that we are a people determined to defend our way of life and to care for our neighbors in need. The scenes of distress and devastation we witnessed in the heart of New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania were overcome by sacrifice, bravery, and compassion. We resolved to answer history’s call to bring justice to our enemies and to ensure the survival and success of liberty. Since that day, we have confronted a murderous ideology by taking the fight to our adversaries and by spreading the universal hope of freedom to millions around the world.

We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces who are advancing liberty and protecting our country, and we pray for their safety. We ask that God continue to comfort the families of those who have lost their lives or who have been injured while defending our freedom. We will succeed in this struggle against evil, and the legacy of peace we leave behind will be the greatest memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, and all those who have paid the ultimate price while wearing our Nation’s uniform.

On these Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we mourn with those who still mourn, and find comfort through faith. We give thanks to the Almighty for our liberty, and we pray for His blessing on all those who were lost and for strength in the work ahead. May God continue to watch over the United States of America, and may His will guide us in the days to come.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 8, through Sunday, September 10, 2006, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and their places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I also invite the people of the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 8129 – National Day of Prayer, 2007
April 20, 2007
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

A prayerful spirit has always been an important part of our national character, and it is a force that has guided the American people, given us strength, and sustained us in moments of joy and in times of challenge. On this National Day of Prayer, we acknowledge God’s grace and ask for His continued guidance in the life of our Nation.

Americans of many faiths and traditions share a common belief that God hears the prayers of His children and shows grace to those who seek Him. Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, in towns all across America, in houses of worship from every faith, Americans have joined together to pray for the lives that were lost and for their families, friends, and loved ones. We hold the victims in our hearts and pray for those who suffer and grieve. There is a power in these prayers, and we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God.

At this important time in our history, we also pray for the brave members of our Armed Forces and their families. We pray for their safety, for the recovery of the wounded, and for the peace we all seek.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to respect the freedom of religion by recognizing each year a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2007, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance, comfort, and protection. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 3, 2007

Good morning, and welcome to the White House. I’m honored to join you for this National Day of Prayer. I’m sorry Laura is not here. She is camping in one of our national parks. [Laughter] I appreciate the chairman—chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Shirley Dobson. Thank you for your leadership on this important day. And I see you brought your husband Jim.

 

The 2007 honorary chairman is with us, and that’s Chuck Swindoll. Thank you, Chuck, for being here, and I’m glad you brought Cynthia as well. Welcome. I appreciate the members of the Cabinet who have joined. I appreciate the Members of the Congress. Thank you all for being here.

And the mayor—Mr. Mayor, thank you, sir. It’s good to see you. Thanks for joining us. It means a lot that you’re here. I appreciate Mayor Ron Rordam, Blacksburg, Virginia. Mr. Mayor, we’re honored you’re here. Thanks for bringing Mary.

Members of the United States military have joined us. Thanks for wearing the uniform. I appreciate those who are participating. Rabbi, thank you for your really kind remarks and strong statement. I am glad that one of my fellow Texans has made it. Mike, thanks for coming from Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. And you married a woman named Laura. [Laughter] Chaplain Houston Yu, Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, proud to have you here. Bishop Coles, thank you for bringing Leona. Proud you all are here too. Thanks for joining us.

Appreciate the United States Army Chorus. By the way, Sergeant First Class Alvy Powell, friend of Presidents 41, 42, and 43. [Laughter] The man’s got some longevity. [Laughter]

As Shirley mentioned, since the days of our founding, our Nation has been called to prayer. That’s exactly what our first President did, George Washington. “It’s the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and to humbly implore his protection and favor.” It’s interesting that the first President said those words.

For two centuries, Americans have answered this call to prayer. We’re a prayerful nation. I believe that makes us a strong nation. Each day millions of our citizens approach our Maker. We pray as congregations in churches and in synagogues and mosques and in temples. We welcome people of all faiths into the United States of America.

We pray as families, around the dinner table and before we go to sleep. We pray alone in silence and solitude, withdrawing from the world to focus on the eternal, spending time in personal recollection with our Creator.

We pray for many reasons. First, we pray to give thanks for the blessings the Almighty has bestowed upon us. We pray to give thanks. We give thanks for our freedom. We give thanks for the brave men and women who risk their lives to defend it. We give thanks for our families who love and support us. We give thanks for our plenty. We give thanks for our Nation.

Second, we pray for the strength to follow God’s will in our lives and for forgiveness when we fail to do so. Through prayer, each of us is reminded that we are fallen creatures in need of mercy. And in seeking the mercy and compassion of a loving God, we grow in mercy and compassion ourselves.

We feel the tug at our souls to reach out to the poor, the elderly, the stranger in distress. And by answering this call to care for our brothers and sisters in need, our hearts grow larger, and we enter into a deeper relationship with God.

Third, we pray to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in our lives and our complete dependence on Him. This is probably the toughest prayer of all, particularly for those of us in politics. In the humility of prayer, we recognize the limits of human strength and human wisdom. We seek the strength and wisdom that comes from above. We ask for the grace to align our hearts with His, echoing the words of Scripture: “Not my will, but thine be done.” We ask the Almighty to remain near to us and guide us in all we do, and when He is near, we are ready for all that may come to us.

Finally, we pray to offer petitions, because our Father in heaven knows our cares and our needs. We trust in the promise of a loving God: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find.” Inspired by this confidence, we pray that the Almighty will pour out His blessings on those we love. We ask His healing for those who suffer from illness, those who struggle in life. We ask His comfort for the victims of tragedy and that the injured may be healed and the fallen may find comfort in the arms of their Creator. We implore His protection for those who protect us here at home and in far away lands. We pray for the day when His peace will reign in every nation and in every land until the ends of the Earth.

The greatest gift we can offer anyone is the gift of our prayers, because our prayers have power beyond our imagining. The English poet Tennyson wrote: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Prayer has the power to change lives and to change the course of history. So on this National Day of Prayer, let us seek the Almighty with confidence and trust, because our Eternal Father inclines his ear to the voice of his children and answers our needs with love.

May God bless America.

 

Proclamation 8145 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2007
May 15, 2007

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Memorial Day, Americans pause with solemn gratitude and deep respect for all our fallen service men and women who have given their lives for our country and our freedom.

Through the generations, the courageous and selfless patriots of our Armed Forces have secured our liberty and borne its great and precious cost. When it has mattered most, patriots from every corner of our Nation have taken up arms to uphold the ideals that make our country a beacon of hope and freedom for the entire world. By answering the call of duty with valor and unrelenting determination, they have set a standard of courage and idealism that inspires us all.

All Americans honor the memory of the lives that have been lost in defense of our freedom. Our Nation mourns them, and their example of strength and perseverance gives us resolve. We are also thankful to those who have stood by our service men and women in times of war and times of peace.

Today, the members of our Armed Forces follow in a proud tradition handed down to them by the heroes that served before them. They are protecting our Nation, advancing the blessings of freedom, and laying the foundation for a more peaceful tomorrow through service that exemplifies the good and decent character of our Nation. America is grateful to all those who have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States, and we will never forget their sacrifices for our liberty.

On Memorial Day, we honor all those who have fallen by remembering their noble sacrifice for freedom. We also pray for our troops, their families, and for the peace we all seek.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 28, 2007, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I encourage the media to participate in these observances. I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 8173 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2007
September 4, 2007

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

During this year’s National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we honor the thousands of victims who died in the brutal and ruthless attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Our Nation remembers with gratitude the firefighters, police officers, first responders, and ordinary citizens who acted with courage and compassion to save the lives of others, and we pray for the families whose loved ones were taken from them.

Never forgetting that terrible day, we remain determined to bring our enemies to justice, defy the terrorists’ ideology of hate, and work to make our world safer. We honor the members of our Armed Forces who died while taking the fight to our adversaries, and we are grateful for those who continue to protect our Nation and our way of life. Their courage, sacrifice, and dedication help preserve our freedom. We pray for their safety, for all those who love them, and for the peace we all seek.

We remain a hopeful America, inspired by the kindness and compassion of our citizens and our commitment to freedom and opportunity. During these days of prayer and remembrance, we reflect on all we have lost and take comfort in each other and in the grace and mercy of our Creator. May God guide us, give us strength and wisdom, and may He continue to bless our great country.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 7, through Sunday, September 9, 2007, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and their places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I also invite the people of the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 8242 – National Day of Prayer, 2008
April 21, 2008
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God’s will in times of joy and of trial. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country’s future in His hands.

From our Nation’s humble beginnings, prayer has guided our leaders and played a vital role in the life and history of the United States. Americans of many different faiths share the profound conviction that God listens to the voice of His children and pours His grace upon those who seek Him in prayer. By surrendering our lives to our loving Father, we learn to serve His eternal purposes, and we are strengthened, refreshed, and ready for all that may come.

On this National Day of Prayer, we ask God’s continued blessings on our country. This year’s theme, “Prayer! America’s Strength and Shield,” is taken from Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” On this day, we pray for the safety of our brave men and women in uniform, for their families, and for the comfort and recovery of those who have been wounded.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our Nation to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing each year a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2008, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God’s continued guidance, comfort, and protection. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

Remarks on the National Day of Prayer
May 1, 2008

Good morning. Welcome to the White House. And I am honored to join you for the National Day of Prayer. I’m sorry Laura’s not here. She’s out selling her book. [Laughter]

Shirley, thank you very much for being the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Glad you brought old Jim with you. [Laughter] Dr. Zacharias, thank you for being the honorary chairman. I appreciate the members of my Cabinet who are here today. Thank you all for coming. It’s good to see Members of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Appreciate you all taking time out of your busy schedule to come by. It’s always good to be with you.

I want to thank our military chaplains who are with us. Thank you for doing the Lord’s work with our troops. I’m proud to have prayer leaders here. Rabbi Fishman, thank you; it’s good to see you again, sir. Father Coughlin, from the United States House of Representatives, it’s good to see you, sir. I want to thank Pastor Mays, who will be following me here shortly, for coming. I’m looking forward to hearing the choir of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral of New York City, New York. It’s going to be a great moment to have this East Room filled with joy of song. And so I welcome them here today.

On this day, Americans come together to thank our Creator for our Nation’s many blessings. We are a blessed nation. And on this day, we celebrate our freedoms, particularly the freedom to pray in public and the great diversity of faith found in America. I love being the President of a country where people feel free to worship as they see fit. And I remind our fellow citizens, if you choose to worship or not worship, and no matter how you worship, we’re all equally American.

I think one of the interesting things about a National Day of Prayer is it does help describe our Nation’s character to others. We are a prayerful nation. A lot of citizens draw comfort from prayer. Prayer is an important part of the lives of millions of Americans. You know, it’s interesting, when you think about our faith, you can find it in the Pledge of Allegiance, you can find an expression of American faith in the Declaration of Independence, and you can find it in the coins in our pockets. I used to carry coins–[laughter]–about 10 months, I’ll be carrying them again. [Laughter]

The fidelity to faith has been present in our Nation’s leaders from its very start. Upon assuming the Presidency, George Washington took the oath of office and then added the famous plea, “So help me God.” On John Adams’s first day in the White House, he wrote a prayer that is now etched in marble on the fireplace in the State Dining Room. And he prayed, “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.” Now, we’ll leave it to the historians to judge whether or not that happened throughout our history. [Laughter]

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln turned to prayer. His second Inaugural Address quoted from Scripture. He stood before the United States people and quoted from Scripture. And he sought to heal a people who “read the same Bible and prayed to the same God”–his words.

As William McKinley lay dying from an assassin’s bullet, one of his final words on Earth focused on the Almighty. On his deathbed he was heard to say, “Nearer, my God, to thee.”

As American forces risked their lives on D-day, Franklin Roosevelt delivered a Presidential prayer over the radio. He asked God to protect our troops as they liberated “a suffering humanity,” and he prayed for “a peace that will let all men live in freedom.” When Roosevelt died, his successor, Harry Truman, said he “felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets” had fallen on him. He told reporters: “Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now.”

John F. Kennedy attended mass in Florida during the last week of his Presidency–and during the last week of his life. It was at that mass that he heard the parable where the–our Lord compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed that grew into a large tree and offered shelter to God’s creatures.

Three days after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, Laura and I joined our fellow citizens in prayer before the Lord. It was in the middle hour of our grief. We prayed for those who were missing. We prayed for the dead. We prayed for those who loved them. I recall the words of a woman from New York, who said, “I prayed to God to give us a sign that He is still here.”

Well, sometimes God’s signs are not always the ones we look for. And we learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own. But we also know that in adversity, we can find comfort through prayer.

Over the last 7 years, our country has faced many trials. And time and time again, we have turned to prayer and found strength and resilience. We prayed with those who’ve lost everything in natural disasters and helped them heal and recover and build. We prayed for our brave and brilliant troops who died on the field of battle. We lift up their families in prayer. And as we pray for God’s continued blessings on our country, I think it makes sense to hope that one day there may be a international day of prayer; that one day the national prayer– [applause]. It would be a chance for people of faith around the world to stop at the same time to pause to praise an Almighty. It would be a time when we could prayer together for a world that sees the promise of the Psalms made real: “Your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.”

I want to thank you all for coming. I particularly want to thank you for your prayers. You know, somebody asked me one time when I was there–over seeing the Sea of Galilee, they said, “What did you think about when you were there, Mr. President?” I said, “I have finally understood the story of the calm on the rough seas.” I may have been a little hardheaded at times, but I’m absolutely convinced it was the prayers of the people who helped me understood, in turbulence you can find calm and strength. And I thank you for those prayers.

 

Proclamation 8260 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2008
May 22, 2008

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Memorial Day, we honor the heroes who have laid down their lives in the cause of freedom, resolve that they will forever be remembered by a grateful Nation, and pray that our country may always prove worthy of the sacrifices they have made.

Throughout our Nation’s history, our course has been secured by brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. These courageous and selfless warriors have stepped forward to protect the Nation they love, fight for America’s highest ideals, and show millions that a future of liberty is possible. Freedoms come at great costs, yet the world has been transformed in unimaginable ways because of the noble service and devotion to duty of these brave individuals. Our country honors the sacrifice made by those who have given their lives to spread the blessings of liberty and lay the foundations of peace, and we mourn their loss.

Today, our service men and women continue to inspire and strengthen our Nation, going above and beyond the call of duty as part of the greatest military the world has ever known. Americans are grateful to all those who have put on our Nation’s uniform and to their families, and we will always remember their service and sacrifice for our freedoms.

On this solemn day our country unites to pay tribute to the fallen, who demonstrated the strength of their convictions and paid the cost of freedom. We pray for the members of our Armed Forces and their families, and we ask for God’s continued guidance of our country.

In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 26, 2008, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day 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. I encourage the media to participate in these observances. I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States, 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.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Proclamation 8284 – National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, 2008
August 28, 2008

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

During National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we pay special tribute to the thousands of innocent victims who died on September 11, 2001. Our Nation honors the brave citizens, service members, police officers, and firefighters who heroically responded in the face of terror. On these important days, we reflect on the terrible events of September 11, 2001, and lift the victims and their families in our prayers.

Our Nation will never forget the individuals who lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. America remains inspired by the countless acts of kindness and sacrifice we saw that day–fearless rescuers who rushed toward danger, a beloved priest who died helping others, two office workers who carried a disabled person 68 floors to safety.

We also pray for the safety and success of the members of our Armed Forces now serving freedom’s cause. We seek God’s grace on their families, and commit to Heaven’s care those brave men and women He has called home. We ask the Almighty to watch over America and pray for His providence and continued blessings on our country. May He always guide the United States of America. As we defend our country against its enemies, we pray for help in protecting the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it, and we ask the Almighty to strengthen all those securing liberty on distant shores.

Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 5, through Sunday, September 7, 2008, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States and their places of worship mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I also invite all people across the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

 

National Day of Prayer

 

Prayer Breakfasts – George W. Bush

blessing 4

 

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