City hosts Memorial Day service at Covington Veterans Monument

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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The Rev. Eric Mancil, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, was the guest speaker for this year’s Memorial Day service held at the Covington Veterans Monument on the campus of Andalusia’s City Hall.

Rev. Mancil used the words of Christ from the 15th Chapter of the Gospel of John: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

In the ancient Greek texts, he said, there are many words for love. In this instance, it is agape.

“Agape is divine or unconditional love,” he said. “It is sacrificial love for the well-being of others without expecting anything in return.

“There’s no greater love than to sacrifice one’s self for the good and well-being of another,” he said. “That’s why we’re here today – to honor those brave men and women throughout history who made the choice to serve and protect, who embodied agape love by giving up their own lives so that we may continue to live in a land of freedom and peace.”

“It’s important for us to remember that they were not just soldiers or service members. They were also sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. They were part of a network of love and relationships, cherished by their families and friends.

“So while we remember our fallen heroes on this day, let us also remember the sacrifices made by their loved ones, those who continue to bear the weight of loss.

“And finally,” he said, “as we honor the fallen let us also recommit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and peace among all people. Jesus taught us to love one another, to love our enemies, and to seek reconciliation. In a world often divided by conflicts and strife, we can be instruments of peace, striving to promote understanding and to respect the dignity of every human being.”

Father Mancil quoted a Memorial Day prayer written by the Rt. Rev. Carl Wright, who served as the Episcopal bishop of the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries from 2017 to 2022:

“Almighty and Most Merciful God: We give you thanks for all Americans who have served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and civilians who in the time of war answered our nation’s call and gave the ultimate sacrifice of their very lives to secure the freedoms we enjoy. We thank you for our political, military, medical and spiritual leaders who made their best efforts in support of these heroic men and women. We thank you also for the families who stood by them and loved them to the end. On this day of memorial, we pray your special blessing upon all military members who have died and upon those who remember them. May we some day follow their godly example and take comfort in your holy admonition that ‘Greater love has no one than this: that they lay down their lives for their friends.’ Amen.