At Fort Gordon this morning, soldiers and civilians offered fervent prayers for both topics, which hit especially close to home.
"Encamp your agents around our armed forces," prayed Sgt. 1st Class Chancey Heyward as nearly 100 people bowed their heads around the flags outside Signal Towers.
It's the first year that Fort Gordon has held a National Day of Prayer observance, said Army Chaplain Maj. Robert Lyons.
Several chaplains and soldiers volunteered to give prayers. They asked for protection of soldiers in war zones, that God might increase wisdom and understanding among military leaders, and that in everything that happens, honor and glory would be brought to Fort Gordon's units, the military, this nation, and most of all, God.
Army Chaplain Maj. Donald Stover read President Obama's National Day of Prayer proclamation. It seeks prayer for those suffering in Haiti and Chile, as well as the families of West Virginia miners, and those in Poland who lost their country's president and nearly 100 others in a plane crash last month.
"Let us remember the unsung heros," Stover read.
Spc. James Hughes prayed to remember that the greatest patriots are those who seek to follow God.
"Convert our nation's patriotism into a passion for holiness," he prayed. "Restore pride in righteousness, not ungodliness."
He quoted Thomas Jefferson at the start of his prayer, who said, "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
The soldiers read, too, from Proverbs 14, which says "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
"Restore our nation as a light to the rest of the world," Hughes prayed. "May we truly be known as one nation under God."
Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552