Sikh Leader joins President Bush in prayer at the White House
Washington, May 4, 2007 - A Washington-based Sikh leader, Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), was invited to join President George Bush in prayer marking the National Day of Prayer on May 3, 2007, This ceremony, held at the East room of the White House, included prominent political, religious, and military leaders from all over the United States. The guest list included a representation from broad spectrum of political and religious landscape of America. Democratic Front runner Senator Hillary Clinton and many conservative leaders attended this annual observance. United States Army Chorus sang three songs. Rabbi Michael Siegel from Chicago offered the opening prayers and the event ended with prayers from Bishop Coles.
President Bush delivering his remarks at the White House ceremony - May 3, 2007
President Bush made his remarks and said, "For two centuries, Americans have answered this call to prayer. We're a prayerful nation. I believe that makes us a strong nation. Each day, millions of our citizens approach our Maker. We pray as congregations in churches and in synagogues, mosques, and temples. We welcome people of all faiths into the United States of America."
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, talks with Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion, left, during the National Day of Prayer ceremony in the East Room, of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President added, "This is probably the toughest prayer of all, particularly for those of us in politics. In the humility of prayer, we recognize the limits of human strength and human wisdom. We seek the strength and wisdom that comes from above. We ask for the grace to align our hearts with His, echoing the words of Scripture, "Not my will, but thine be done." We ask the Almighty to remain near to us and guide us in all we do, and when He is near we are ready for all that may come to us."
Senator Clinton and Dr. Rajwant Singh at the White House - May 3, 2007
Dr. Rajwant Singh, who has been invited to the White House several times by both Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush, said, "It is important that we offer prayers for the benefit of everyone. This is the only way to create a sense of togetherness among all people. This provides us the opportunity to work with other faith traditions to foster tolerance and mutual understanding in this country and throughout the world. I am honored to be invited to this important institution which sends a signal that this administration welcomes all faiths to the White House. This also indicates that Sikhs are part and parcel of the American mainstream"
Cadet Chaplain Eun-Jae Yu, of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, delivers the 2007 Prayer for the Nation to President George W. Bush and guests during an observance Thursday, May 3, 2007, of National Prayer Day in the East Room of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper
Mayor Ron Rordam of Blacksburg, Blacksburg, Virginia, the town which hosts Virginia Tech University, Senator Joe Leiberman, and many other congressmen and senators were also in attendance during the ceremony. Dr. Singh offered words of prayer to Mayor Rordam for the people of Blacksburg who have witnessed the tragedy at Virginia Tech. recently.
Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative, Ishani Chowdhury, Executive Director of The Hindu American Foundation, and Dr. Zahid Bukhari, Director of the
American Muslim Studies Program at Georgetown University also attended the event.
Mayor Ron Rordam and Mary Rordam of Blacksburg, Virginia, with Dr. Singh at the White House - 5/3/07
In 1952, the US Congress created a National Day of Prayer under President Harry Truman and invited people of all faiths to pray for the country. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan affixed it to the first Thursday in May.
President George W. Bush sits next to Shirley Dobson, Chair of the National Day of Prayer, during an observance of the day Thursday, May 3, 2007, in the East Room of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper
Bush also stated, "We ask His comfort for the victims of the tragedy, and that the injured may be healed and the fallen may find comfort in the arms of their Creator. We implore His protection for those who protect us here at home and in faraway lands. We pray for the day when His peace will reign in every nation and in every land until the ends of the earth."