Minute with the Mayor

Speech from Memorial Day Service


Memorial Day is a solemn occasion, a day to reflect on the courage, dedication, and love of country that have defined our nation’s defenders throughout history.  From the earliest days of our republic to the present, brave men and women have answered the call to defend freedom and uphold the values we hold dear.

As we look back through the annals of history, we see the evolution of warfare and the relentless spirit of our soldiers.  We began with horses and muskets, the crack of rifles echoing through the fields of battle.

Our nation was forged in the crucible of the Civil War, a conflict that pitted brother against brother at Gettysburg, Shiloh, and Bull Run. It was a time of deep division, but it also reaffirmed our commitment to unity. We must never again let our country be divided as it was then.

In World War I, the so-called “war to end all wars,” we saw the introduction of tanks and machine guns, a testament to the advancing technology of weapons.  No matter the weapon, our soldiers persevered, driven by a sense of duty and a desire to secure a lasting peace.

World War II brought even greater challenges.  On the beaches of Normandy, at the Battle of the Bulge, and across the sands of Iwo Jima, American forces fought valiantly against tyranny.  The global conflict tested our resolve, but the bravery of our soldiers never wavered.  Their sacrifices helped to shape the world we live in today.

The Korean War, often called the forgotten war, must never be forgotten by us.  It was a conflict that tested our nation’s resolve and showcased the spirit of our troops on foreign soil.

In Vietnam, from the Mekong Delta to Hamburger Hill, our soldiers faced a different kind of warfare.  Though the nation seemed to waiver, the commitment of our soldiers never did.

In more recent times, from the beaches of Grenada to the streets in Somalia, from the deserts of Iraq, to the mountains of Afghanistan, in places like Baghdad, Fallujah, Kunar, and Kandahar, our forces have continued to defend our freedoms and protect our way of life.

The advent of new technology—GPS, drones, night vision, lasers, and thermal optics, have changed the face of warfare, but it has always been the human spirit, the courage and dedication of our soldiers, that has made the difference.

As we stand here today, we remember that despite the advancements in technology, it is the human being, the warrior who bears the burden of war.

They are not just soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. They are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our friends and neighbors.  They are people just like us. They were people with hopes and dreams for a future.

They wanted to have children. They desired to watch their children grow...play Friday night football, or shoot a basket, or dance at a recital, or sing a song in the choir.

Our fallen heroes wanted to walk their daughters down the aisle to kiss their wives or husbands, to grow old with their spouse, to hold their hand when life got hard.

But on some distant battlefield, or in the skies over enemy territory, or on the depths of the oceans, they held the line, stood their ground, and gave up a life, a hope, a dream, and a future.  And it was done for us.

Our country often seems to lose its way. However, know that our warriors who serve and have served understand the true gravity of their mission.

In countries that most cannot even find on a map, there are men who call for our death and destruction. Their chants have reached our borders.

They do not care about your religious beliefs, your political opinions.

They do not care if you are on the left or the right. They do not care about diversity, equity, or your freedom of speech.

They have one goal….. they want our destruction.

Paper and ink outline the principles of our great nation, but it is not paper and ink that protect this nation. It is the blood of the soldier, the sailor, the airman, the Marine, willing to give all so that we can have the freedom to speak, to think, and to act as we choose.

Everyone within the borders of America and under the banner of our flag owe a debt to these fallen men and women.

We send our best into battle, and we lose our best in the fight against evil so that the wolf does not come growling at your door.

Look around. Embrace the good, the bad, the ugly - and choose which category you wish to live under.

And as you look up and see that Red, White, and Blue Old Glory flying, always remember that our fallen heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice for our choices and our freedoms.

Make every day a Memorial Day. The symbol of freedom and sacrifice is always nearby.  Let us honor their memory by showing respect for the fallen, love for their families, commitment to always “carry on” in service to our great country.

Let us ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain by working to create a world where such sacrifices are no longer necessary.

And let us remember that the true strength of our nation lies not in our weapons but in the spirit of our fallen heroes that we honor here today [Memorial Day].



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