By Cantor Jessica F. Epstein
It was my first time walking into The Oval to participate in the Livingston Township Memorial Day parade, so of course one of my espadrilles decided to come apart, leaving me limping oddly to the grandstand.
On the way to the center of the event, I was so pleased to see our long-time members, Evi Meinhardt and Marilyn Rosenbaum in attendance! Steven Delman was also there, and other congregants as well that I am sure I didn’t get to see in the large crowds. Pipes and Drums, community organizations, first responders all turned out to honor the memories of those men Livingston has lost. The war memorials in The Oval are simple but moving; honoring our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have fought and died for this country going back to the Civil War. With flags in abundance, and so many veterans as well as current soldiers, the event was truly multi-generational and appropriately solemn. I was asked to share a prayer for the Gold Star Families, and rather than read one prepared for me, I took a time to write the following:
We come together today in honor, in remembrance, and in prayer for our Gold Star Mothers, our Gold Star Families, bound together by service and sacrifice. They have given more than most to preserve our freedom, our nation. They know the knock at the door that no one welcomes, they know the words that no one wants to hear. Their children’s service comes at a terrible cost. May their sacrifices have never been in vain. May their memories bring them honor and comfort. And may our prayers and our community give them strength today and ever after.
May the memories of all those who died so that we may live in peace and freedom be a blessing.
Kein Y’hi Ratzon.