FRANK PETER WITEK
And All Our Departed Shipmates
(Ship Wreath Laying Prayer. By Chaplain John Gundlach)
"Eternal God, we gather here to place a wreath in honor of THE USS WITEK.
Though the skin of this vessel was made of steel, her heart consisted of the flesh and blood of those who manned her. They brought her to life, gave her personality, and lent her their strength to serve our countryís needs. Through their deeds, they won her a place of honor in the record of our Nationís Navy
Today we remember THE USS WITEK, and we honor all who served in her. Their names and stories are known to many of us, because our lives touched as shipmates, friends and family. They, and we, are also known to you O GOD, every shipmate living and dead, and every family member who gave their love and support.
Loving God, in your mercy grant peace and eternal rest to those shipmates who are no longer with us. Bless their memory and continue to comfort their loved ones. And to those of us who remain, give us a sense of pride for having done our duty, the joy of rekindling friendships with our shipmates, and faith that is strengthened by the memory of your presence with us, through every challenge and danger. We ask all these things in your holy name. Amen."
(Final Prayer: after we drop the Wreath Overboard:)
"Let the flowers, we cast upon the sea, be a symbol of our commitment and high resolve to keep the memory of our shipmates ever fresh, ever green, in our minds and hearts. Amen."
USS WITEK EDD848
Aboard USS MASSACHUSETTS BB59
Fall River, MA
November 2nd, 2001