Thursday's National Day of Prayer was marked by a ceremony on the steps of City Hall attended by about 100 people.
The event, emceed by 4th District Alderman Jim Kaplan, included patriotic songs sung by Cheryl McCrary and the Heir-Born Praise Band, and prayers led by Dave Ackerman, Chaplain Cornelius Gordon, Stuart Nelson, Jim Pfau and Tom Ginski. They prayed for the country, our soldiers, those in prison, and the unborn.
Mayor John Dickert read a city proclamation and urged those present to "put our energy into what brings us together, not into what separates us." Dickert noted that National Day of Prayer dates back to 1775, when it was first declared by the Continental Congress. Kaplan said he was pleased that the Mayor read the city's proclamation; this was the first time in five years, Kaplan said, that the mayor had done so. For all those other years Kaplan read it.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, saying the law creating it is a call to religious action. Despite the Madison judge's ruling, Gov. Jim Doyle was scheduled to issue his own proclamation today observing the day. Enforcement of Judge Crabb's ruling is on hold, pending appeals.
Here are some pictures from the ceremony, conducted under the billowing City Hall flag high above.
Stuart Nelson plays 'Taps;' at right, 'Union Soldier' Tom Ginski