AL ASAD, Iraq -- Service members gathered this morning for food, fellowship and prayer as Marines, sailors and soldiers here observed the National Day of Prayer.
The National Day of Prayer was established as an annual event in 1952 by a joint
resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S.
The observance of the National Day of Prayer is founded on the constitutional
rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion and can be celebrated by all
Americans. President Ronald Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first
Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.
On a day when Americans around the globe bring their national, state, and local
government officials, the military, and their families before God, service members here
joined together in prayer.
Chaplains, religious program specialists and chaplains’ assistants from the 2nd
Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and the 326th Area Support Group organized the
breakfast and allotted times throughout the day for service members to partake in specific
prayers for family, government, military and the people of Iraq, among others.
Prior to the meal, those in attendance enjoyed musical selections from the 2nd
MAW Band and a praise team. Army Sgt. Daniel Estinfort’s saxophone soothed the
crowd with hymns as they ate.
After the meal, Lt. Cmdr. Terry Eddinger, Marine Aircraft Group 26 chaplain,
lead the gathering in prayer for our nation’s leaders.
Following the prayer and a brief introduction, the wing commanding general gave
an inspiring speech.
The guest of honor at the prayer breakfast, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Milstead Jr.,
commanding general of the 2nd MAW (Fwd), quoted from “America the Beautiful” and
spoke of the importance of prayer and God’s grace.
“We are not only blessed as individuals, but as a nation,” Milstead said. “Our
country is truly blessed with freedom and prosperity unparalleled across the nations.”
“We join together this morning, people of different faiths, but serving one God,”
Milstead punctuated. “As servicemen and women we are called to not only stand for our
nation but our faith.”
Milstead said the theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer, ‘God Shed His
Grace on Thee,’ highlights the importance of God’s grace in our daily lives.
During a difficult time for the people of Iraq and America, Milstead said the
importance of prayer and faith should not be overlooked.
“From the earliest days of our founding, we have been a nation under God,” he
said. “Today we ask God to shed His grace on us and the people of Iraq, and just as He
promised, we will receive it.”
Milstead’s words echoed those of President Abraham Lincoln, who said, “it is the
duty of nations as well as men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of
After Milstead’s speech, and prayers for military personnel and family, Capt.
Christian Pappas concluded the ceremony by playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
*For more information about the Marines or news reported on in this
story, please contact Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis by e-mail at defilippisrc@acemnf-