CRESTVIEW — Thursday marked the National Day of Prayer, when people across the country gather to pray for the nation.

Ceremonies were held locally in communities including Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. According to the National Day of Prayer website, the day exists to mobilize unified public prayer for America.

The observance in Crestview took place at noon on the steps of Warriors Hall.

City manager Tim Bolduc, city council members Cynthia Brown and Andrew Rencich, members of the Crestview Police Department and residents were present for the event.

During the time of prayer, those who wanted to pray were given an opportunity prior to Rev. Jerry Nelson, senior pastor of Live Oak Baptist Church, leading the group in a closing prayer.

“It (prayer) is not just important today, it’s important every day,” Nelson said. “Today reminds us of the importance of prayer and praying for those who serve us.”

The group’s prayer focused on the nation’s leaders and the city of Crestview’s first responders.

The observance ended with the group singing “God Bless America” while they kept their heads bowed, lifting the song up as a prayer.