As citizens begin their summer at poolside and backyard grills this Memorial Day,
they need to put the “memorial” back in Memorial Day by pausing to honor the
sacrifices that make our freedom possible. No words are adequate to console
those who have lost a loved one serving our nation, but we can pause as
individuals, families and a Nation to offer our thoughts and prayers. We not only
remember the sacrifices of our veterans, we think of the mother who hears the
sound of her child’s 21-gun salute. We grieve for the husband or wife who
receives a folded flag. We grieve for a young son or daughter who only knows
Dad from a photograph. And as we share that grief, we also honor those among
us; true heroes who place Nation above self and give their all for all of us.
President Abraham Lincoln spoke for us all in his letter to a mother who lost five
sons during the Civil War.
Dear Madam, I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which
should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I
cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the
thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may
assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished
memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have
laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
How can words suffice in honoring our fallen veterans? We honor them by
remembering – remembering that they loved America, so offered to serve far
from its shores. They revered freedom, so sacrificed their own that we may be
free. They defended our individual rights, yet yielded their individuality to do so.
But most of all, they valued life, yet bravely readied themselves to die in service
to our country.
The brave men and women we honor today selflessly gave of themselves to
defend a way of life that we so cherish — the rights of all people to determine our
own futures, free of oppression and fear. It is because of these everyday heroes
that we celebrate Memorial Day, commemorating the selflessness and sacrifice
of those upon whose very lives rests the foundation of freedom. Memorial Day,
one of our nation’s oldest and most significant holidays, recalls the glory and
sacrifice of all who have set their personal aspirations aside for the preservation
of our society.
In times such as these, it is important for every American to reflect on what it truly
means to live in freedom. We owe all of our veterans, past and present, a debt of
gratitude for the sacrifices they have made in the defense of liberty. It is our duty
to keep the memory of our fallen veterans alive. May we never forget those have
fought for our freedom, and may we celebrate the lives of those who have truly
made America the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We need to put “memorial” back in Memorial Day. As this special day
approaches, let us reflect on the freedoms we all enjoy for which many have
died. To the families in of our fallen heroes who gave their hearts to this country,
I say thank you. We owe you and your loved ones our heartfelt gratitude and
more. On this Memorial Day, we join fellow Americans in a national day of
remembrance in honor of America’s fallen. One Nation, One Day—let us never
On this day, our hearts go out to the spouses and loved ones of those who have
given all they can give in service to our nation. We share their sorrow, but we
cannot know their grief. What we can do – and must do as a nation – is
remember those who have fallen. Remember what they did; why they did it; and
appreciate what that sacrifice means to us. It means freedom. It means security.
I means strength, and the motivation to stay strong in freedom’s cause. To do
any less – to not remember – would defile the hopes and dreams of those we