INVOCATION by Rabbi Carl Choper at GETTYSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY
154TH ANNIVERSARY OF GETTYSBURG ADDRESS November 19, 2017
Almost two-and-a-half centuries ago,visionary revolutionaries brought forth, on this continent, new order conceived in Liberty,which George Washington as President described in a letter to the American-Jewish community of his time as giving “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”
Nonetheless did it become apparent that the new republic would be tested by a continued need for renewed births of freedom.
We stand on one particularly bloody battlefield of a chapter of that ongoing struggle
that both unites us and divides us to this very day.
As such, we join together with words recited in synagogues across this land for the benefit and welfare of our nation*:
We ask, together, the Creator of all Flesh to bless all the inhabitants of our country with understanding and love. May citizens of all races forge a common bond in true harmonyto banish hatred and bigotry,and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are the pride and glory of our country.
May our leaders be blessed to administer affairs of state with fairness, so that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.
May this land be an influence for good throughout the world,uniting all people in peace and freedom,and helping them to fulfill the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
“Lo Yisa Goi el Goi Herev; v’Lo yilmadu od milchama - Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; Nor shall they learn war anymore.”
So that, in the words of President Washington to “the Children of the Stock of Abraham” dwelling here in his day,“every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid;”
And so that those who lie before us here,
who died preserving a Union so highly dedicated,
shall not have died in vain.
*based on the words of the Prayer for Our Country in Siddur Sim Shalom.