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Letter: Service of Lament for Iraq War

To the Editor:

As people around the world mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, many feel a profound sense of loss — personal, societal or both.

The loss is indeed great: American deaths, 4,488; Americans wounded, 32,000. According to the Cost of War Project, more than 134,000 Iraqi civilians are thought to have died. With the additional deaths of contractors and coalition forces, the Cost of War Project estimates 190,000 individual deaths were directly caused by the war in Iraq. Then there are the orphans, widows, grieving parents, wounded, displaced, haunted and so on. War brings difficult memories and shattered hopes for so many.

Religious communities in every culture have rituals that respond to loss. As we mark the decade that has passed since the invasion, it is right to allow ourselves to lament. Lamentation is the experience of loss crying out for the possibility of hope.

Therefore, we invite you to gather today with others who know loss for a service of lament from noon until 1 p.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover.

The ritual will be simple: the tolling of church bells, two psalms, silence and the chamber music of Bach, Bartok, Rachmaninoff, Vivaldi and Chopin, provided by generous and talented Upper Valley musicians, one of whom is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It will conclude with Taps.

This is a commemoration intended for all of us who bear the wounds of war: those who have served in Iraq or elsewhere; those who pleaded with our government not to go to war; those who lost loved ones or who have had their trust in the wisdom of our leaders shaken. It is for those who simply grieve all the losses that war brings.

You are invited to this service of lament. May the words of the psalmist, the simplicity of silence and the music so movingly composed and performed offer your soul solace on this holy Saturday.

The Revs. Michael and Susan Thomas

Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry

Hanover