Monday, May 30, is Memorial Day in the United States this year. I offer some important thoughts via this graphic and after …
That was from President Kennedy’s inauguration speech in 1961. In 1963 President Kennedy wrote a Thanksgiving Proclamation that he did not live to deliver, but these words are important: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
In that same month musician Bob Dylan said: “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”
In the earlh days of World War II Winston Churchill said: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
After World War II Elie Wiesel wisely noted: “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”
Days after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt and a few months before the end of World War II, President Truman spoke to the U.S. Armed Forces in a radio address that included this honor: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”
Years later President Ronald Reagan offered: “…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.”
Memorial Day (and Decoration Day before the name change) has been part of our nation’s culture for more than 150 years. Pause on this day to remember.