On May 28, 1779, General Anthony Wayne sent this not to General Geaorge Washington:
The fort & garrison with Colonel Johnston are ours. Our officers & men behaved like men who are determined to be free.
Yours most sincerely
“For more than two centuries, Americans have been called to defend the founding ideals of our democracy. On Memorial Day, a grateful Nation remembers the proud patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty’s blessings.
From the opening battles of the American Revolution through the turmoil of the Civil War, to World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, to the Persian Gulf and today’s operations in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, the members of our military have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service. As we observe Memorial Day, we remember the more than one million Americans who have died to preserve our freedom, the more than 140,000 citizens who were prisoners of war, and all those who were declared missing in action.
We also honor our veterans for their dedication to America and their sacrifice. This year, we honor many heroes by observing the 66th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy, and by dedicating the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. In a radio address on June 6, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt described these service members as the “pride of our Nation,” who struggled to preserve our civilization. The fallen from that fateful day and that war will always be remembered. They hold a cherished place in the history of the United States and in the memories of the people they liberated.
Today, all who wear the uniform of the United States are serving at a crucial hour in history, and each has answered a great call to serve our Nation on the front lines of freedom. As we continue to fight terrorism and promote peace and freedom-, let us pray for the safety and strength of our troops, for God’s blessing on them and their families, and for those who have lost loved ones. On this Memorial Day, we honor all of our fallen soldiers, their commitment to our country, and their legacy of patriotism and sacrifice. By giving their lives in the cause of freedom, these heroes have protected and inspired all Americans.
In respect for their devotion to America, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950, as amended (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated the minute beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.
- Excerpt of 2004 Presidential Proclomation
Freedom isn’t free – Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it” – John F Kennedy
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived” – Gen. George S Patton
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – The Bible, John 15:13
Today, as we celebrate Memorial Day, remember that it is not about picnic and parades, mattress and car sales, beaches and bonfires, it’s about taking time to reflect on the brave men and women that serve our country and that have given their lives to protect our freedom. Today at 3pm, take a moment and stop everything you are doing and honor the soldiers. Because of their sacrifice we live in a country that allows us opportunity, freedom and the ability to continue MOVING FORWARD.