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About 30 members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort gathered Tuesday around a lone flame representing the 58 South Carolina service members who lost their lives in Iraq in 2007, praying for their souls and a speedy end to the war.
Minister Nan White led the fellowship's third annual service.
"Not only do we gather to uplift the lives of South Carolina's servicemen, we begin this new year by lifting up our own lives by living in peace."
As the names of the deceased service members were called out, another parishioner chimed a Tibetan prayer bowl in their memory.
At the conclusion of the vigil, the parishioners locked hands and sang "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and "Imagine" by John Lennon.
"We decided three years ago we needed to do something more than pray for peace," White said. "We needed a visible demonstration. It seems like the right thing to do on the first day of a new year, to pray for peace in our land and in our lives."
Elizabeth Gravatt huddled against a gust of cold wind as she recited her serviceman's name.
"We always want the names to be less than last year," she said. "But speaking their names is honoring them."
Betty Chanlee said she attended the vigil to honor Beaufort's service members and their families for their sacrifices.
She isn't sure how peace might be brought about in Iraq, she said, but she hopes it comes soon.
"I think we're all realistic about what it will take to have a peaceful result (in Iraq)," she said. "But yet, if there's going to be peace on earth, let it begin with me."