Text of President Michael Cooper-White's invocation:
Lord of the Universe, God of the nations, Lover of all races and the world’s myriad faces,
Thousands of years ago, Father Abraham and Mother Sarah set out on a journey in search of a promised land of freedom.
Seven score and ten years ago, Brother Abraham asked us to dream of a new birth of freedom in this land. As he consecrated this hallowed ground, wherein so many who sacrificed so much lie buried, President Lincoln called our forebears to live large beyond themselves, to rise above their divisions, and to become once again a United States of America.
Seventy-five years ago, nearby on this great battlefield another president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ignited an eternal flame burning with an everlasting Light for Peace.
We who gather again at this sacred site this day pray that we be worthy of these great promises and grand legacy entrusted to us. Give us the courage to heal our divisions so that freedom might once more flourish, so that justice might be restored to all, and your peace that passes all understanding may reign upon the earth. Amen.
Professor Emeritus Nelson Strobert Offers the Benediction
Let us pray:
O God, creator and sustainer,
We gathered at this place to remember and hear the words, refrains, and voices of the past one hundred fifty years:
Reconciliation, reunion, and ultimately PEACE, a true renaissance for our nation.
As we depart, Empowered by this past, may we continue to be engaged in the work of freedom, for all, at home and abroad;
Empowered by the present and in honor of all that we heard, let us be
Empowered to envision a future “shadowed beneath thy hand,
may we forever stand, true to (you) our God,
true to our native land.” AMEN