Reading of the Names
A Memorial Presentation
(This service may be used anytime throughout the year to honor those who have sacrificed for their country.)
Each year more casualties are added to the number of U.S. military members who have made the ultimate sacrifice. As a way to remember the sacrifices made by those called to serve, worship leaders have a unique opportunity to make a visual and audible presentation to impact their congregations.
Ministers are encouraged to deliver a sermon or message on remembrance to honor the fallen. A key aspect is to remember the sacrifices made on behalf of the nation. One way to remember those who have sacrificed for the nation is to read names of those who died in combat areas. Reading of names can be done in a variety of ways depending on the size of the church and its congregation. Names of combat casualties can be acquired on a number of Web sites that track American casualties (militarycity.com; foxnews.com; washingtonpost.com).
Prior to the service of worship, slips of paper with the names of deceased service members are given to veteran members of the congregation. The slips of paper should also include the following information: rank, age, hometown, date of loss. If the number of names is greater than the number of veterans present, then the names are given to the men of the congregation ages 18 and up. Names of deceased service women should be given to the women in the congregation.
It is suggested that at the end of the message the worship leader read the names and other related information about the deceased service members from the pulpit or stage area. As a name is read, the veteran or member of the congregation is to stand, walk towards the front of the worship area, and then exit the auditorium. After all the names are read, Taps can be played.
The number of names read can be determined by a variety of factors that fit the timely needs of each church. Churches can either read the number of names of those who died from their county, state, or region. Names can also be read by the date of loss (year). The visual and audible aspect of the reading of names is that the church take notice on how many of its people have been lost to war. Once everyone has left the room the impact becomes very noticeable and powerful. War is tragic.
During the final hymn those who left the service are to quietly return to their seats and rejoin their families. This movement is also impacting in that “in remembrance” we bring back to life the memories of our loved ones. When participants come back into the worship area they in essence come back to being, affirming the Good News of eternal life!
LCDR R.P. Lawson,
Chaplain US Navy Reserve
Lake Cities United Methodist Church