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NEWS | May 10, 2024

Fort Buchanan 2024 National Day of Prayer

By David Hernandez Belaval U.S. Army Garrison Fort Buchanan

On May 2, service members, families, civilians, and veterans gathered at the installation's community club to celebrate the Joint National Day of Prayer. The event was organized by Chaplain (Maj) Joseph F. Okpe, Fort Buchanan chaplain, in conjunction with chaplains from the National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Coast Guard, and other Armed Services.

National days of prayer have been called for since 1775 when the Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Congress' bill establishing an annual National Day of Prayer was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on April 17, 1952. Congress amended the law for President Ronald Reagan's signature on May 5, 1988, designating the first Thursday of each May as the annual National Day of Prayer.

Chaplain (Maj) Farlin Reynoso, from the 1st Mission Support Command, began the event with the invocation.

"Help us, Lord, to embrace this noble legacy of faith as we pray in the words of our first president, George Washington, who said, 'Grant that we may hear your word with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith and that it may accomplish in us, gracious God, the good work from which you have sent it," expressed Reynoso.

Meanwhile, Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, welcomed everyone to the event.

"Today, we recognize the power of prayer to strengthen our spirits, draw us together, and create hope for a better tomorrow. Prayer has helped the bravest among us, including our service members and families, to gather the courage to make great sacrifices for our democracy. That is why I encourage all of you to give thanks, by your faith and conscience, for our many freedoms and blessings. I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God's continued guidance, mercy, and protection for Fort Buchanan, our service members, and our families," said Moulton.

During the ceremony, religious leaders prayed together for Puerto Rico as hurricane season approaches. They also prayed for the mobilized soldiers and their families.

Father Alfonso Guzmán was the guest speaker.

"When you forgive someone, you forgive yourself. Having a grudge against someone who has hurt you is not just about what they have done to you, but it is about what you have allowed to happen to you. Emotionally and psychologically unencumbered, you can begin to put the past behind you. Forgiveness is an act of kindness and goodness. Forgiveness is a way of making choices to enter God's mercy repeatedly through an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Father Guzmán.

According to participants, the event was very beneficial to the community.

"Our spiritual dimension is key in helping our communities overcome the different circumstances we must face. If you have faith and are a spiritual person, normally things go a little better for you, or you have the tools to deal or work with your situations," expressed Edwin Cancel, a U.S. Navy Retiree.

At the end of the ceremony, Moulton, and Okpe presented a certificate of appreciation to the chaplains who participated in the event.

The National Day of Prayer enriches Army life and helps build Army spiritual readiness by supporting freedom of religion for Army members while honoring their diverse religious beliefs and cultural practices.

Fort Buchanan is the Army's home in the Caribbean and serves a diverse military community of approximately 15,000 active duty, Reserve and National Guard military, Marine Corps Reserve, and Navy Reserve Center.