I am grateful for those brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much. I am grateful that my Great-Grandma Jensen was an example of a patriot. She loved her country and what it meant to be an American.
Today Americans across this great country will join together in remembering those American warriors—throughout our storied history—who gave their lives in defense of freedom. From the blood-soaked beaches of France to the bombed-out back-alleys of Fallujah, the American G.I. has fought—and died—opposing that which is evil and oppressive, and defending all things good and free.
Memorial Day is about one thing: remembering the fallen on the battlefield and passing their collective story to the next generation. These stories, and the men who bear them, are the backbone of this American experiment and must never be forgotten.
And this day, with America still at war, it is also fitting that we remember the soldiers currently serving in harms way. Because just one moment, one explosion, or one bullet separates Veterans Day from Memorial Day. Soldiers currently in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting for our freedoms today, knowing it’s possible they may never see tomorrow. These troops—and their mission—deserve our support each day, and our prayers every night. May God watch over them—and their families; May He give them courage in the face of fear, and righteous might in the face of evil.
There are no words that can truly commemorate the heroism of these men. But one voice, in my opinion, comes closer than any other. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln had this to say about the men who had fought and died at the battle of Gettysburg.
“We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Almost 150 years later, the words of Lincoln still resonate. But it doesn’t take being Commander-in-Chief to honor the fallen. This Memorial Day, I hope you remember the brave men and women that have heroically served this nation, and perished on the battlefield. It is the duty of every American to ensure that they are never forgotten.