Sixty-two years after the National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, Aiken and 42,000 other cities all over the country will keep the tradition alive on Thursday, May 1.

Aiken's National Day of Prayer will include two different events hosted by a local organizing committee, and everyone is invited to attend. The first will be a noon hour of prayer in front of the Municipal building, located at 214 Park Ave., starting at noon and going until 1 p.m.

The second event will be held later that night at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center located at 1700 Whiskey Road. The event will run from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m.

Committee member Roger Rollins said it's important for Aiken residents and communities around the country to unite for the national event.

“It's important that our nation continue praying for our nation,” he said. “We should come together, at least once a year, to pray for each other, our leadership and many other issues.”

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

Each year, the president signs a proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013.