Memorial Day 2011 will historically have it’s own very personal meaning to many Americans, as this year our Military brought down the instigator of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. The sacrifices of our troops, their families and loved ones, since that terrible September day weighs heavily on each of us.
And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will ever have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice. ~ President Ronald Reagan 1982
Address about Memorial Day 2011 by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
For many people, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but for millions of American families it holds a much deeper meaning. It is that day we set aside solemnly to remember the brave who did not make it home, to celebrate their courage, mourn their loss, and appreciate what they did to make this country a safer place. Sadly, more than 6,000 names have been added to that roll call in the last 10 years. Please take a moment to remember them and their families. Thank you.
Memorial Day is set aside to express our deepest gratitude to those, who for the love of our country, accepted death. I know no better words to describe their sacrifices than those of former President Ronald Reagan, along with a short but powerful video after the photos.
As we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, please consider donating a care package for Troopathon 2011. From the comfort of your home, you can make life a bit more comfortable for those who are protecting your freedom. Read the details here or click the badge below.
President Ronald Reagan at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 1982 (partial transcript) – don’t miss the last line:
The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI’s of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.
Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, “just the best darn kids in the world.” Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn’t volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.
As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.
Reagan ended the speech by reminding us to always ask the question which ends our National Anthem:
Does that flag still wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? That is what we must all ask.
Others talking about the ultimate sacrifice:
Remembering Those Who Who Have Fallen (video)