Covenant Chaplain Offers Invocation During Bush Visit

Post a Comment » Written on November 21st, 2007     
Filed under: News
FORT JACKSON, SC (November 21, 2007) – Covenant U.S. Army Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Nakazono offered the invocation earlier this month when President Bush spoke here to several hundred basic training graduates and their families.

Bush’s visit to Fort Jackson on November 2 was the first by a Commander-in-Chief since Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed troops in March 1941. “I don’t think any of us realized how historic this visit was,” Nakazono says.

To prepare for the moment, “I just focused on doing my job and maintaining the proper perspective on my role,” Nakazono says. “Having previously provided invocations at military ceremonies with generals in attendance, I tried to not make this event and opportunity bigger than it was.”

That was easier said than done. “What’s funny is that I don’t remember anything from the time I walked onto the stage to the time the president shook my hand after my prayer,” Nakazono says. “As I approached the president on my way to exit the stage, he took one step towards me and extended his hand to shake my hand. The president has a very strong handshake. One of things I will remember about this entire event is the feel of the president’s hand as we shook hands together.”

Nakazono adds, “I am most grateful for the opportunity I had to open this event for the president and our basic combat training graduates. This is definitely a highlight for me in my service as an Army chaplain.”

The military has previously recognized Nakazono for his service. In May 2007, Nakazono was presented the Army Commendation Medal for Valor after helping save the life of a platoon leader in the midst of gunfire while serving in Iraq.

Nakazono is a graduate of North Park Theological Seminary. He formerly served as youth pastor at Trinity Covenant Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and Turlock Covenant Church in California. He also is a former member of the Board of Christian Formation (now Christian Formation Committee).

In his speech during the graduation ceremonies, the president elicited laughter when he began by telling the graduates: “Over the past three weeks you’ve endured obstacle courses, grenade throwing, fireguard duty. You even made it through Victory Forge. Now you have another tough assignment: You got to make it through my speech.”

While cautioning that much work remains, Bush highlighted what he said have been major achievements since the surge began four months ago. The president told the crowd that the number of IED (improvised explosive device) attacks per week has declined by half, U.S. military deaths have fallen to their lowest level in 19 months, Iraqi forces have assumed responsibility for security in eight of Iraq’s 18 provinces, and that al Qaeda had been driven from Anbar Province, once considered a stronghold of the terrorist group.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog