U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on 22 November 1963. On this anniversary, and in light of the sick humor? even sicker sincerity? of the currently popular “Prayer for Obama,” consider Richard L. Evans’s words of tribute and prayer, broadcast with the music of the Tabernacle Choir in 1963:

The Passing of the President

With a sorrowing America, we join this day in mourning the passing of the President. John Fitzgerald Kennedy is mourned by unnumbered multitudes, not only here, but wherever there are knowing human hearts. In a short lifetime he realized an almost incredible accomplishment, and will be remembered unpredictably far into the future.

But our thoughts today are more for those who mourn him in the close relationship of life – his loved ones. The official loss does not make less their personal loss. May the peace and comfort and understanding of the Father of us all be with them in these anguished hours, and in all yet future difficult days – with faith in eternal continuance – faith in his eternal plan and purpose. “There is a future, O thank God! [1] – a future where our loved ones wait.

And now our fellow Americans, may we turn our thoughts a moment to some words from the past that have much meaning for the present: “It is a time … for searching of the conscience, for humility of spirit, for the heartfelt prayer of the whole people for light, for guidance, for strength, for sanity, for that passion for righteousness which consumes all pride, scorn, arrogance, and trust in the things that perish. … Therefore, let the Nation search itself. … And thus let us plead and pray: Almighty God, who in former time leddest our fathers forth … give Thy grace … to us their children, that we may always … do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Defend our liberties; preserve our unity. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion … and from every evil way.” [2]

From a century past we add to this these lines from Abraham Lincoln: “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves … and to pray for clemency and forgiveness … All this being done in sincerity and truth … that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high. …” [3]

Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light.
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King! [4]

[1] Henry de Lafayette Webster, Lorena.
[2] Editorial, The Outlook, November 29, 1902.
[3] Excerpt from Proclamation, March 30, 1863.
[4] Samuel F. Smith, My Country, ’Tis of Thee

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