Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

(PICTURE: One of the war memorials in front of the Livingston oval.)

As Mayor, my father thought he might have to give a speech for Memorial Day. Like all of the Boy Scouts who were out for the holiday, my father is always prepared. And, well, in this case he was too prepared since he wasn't scheduled to give a speech.

So, I'm gonna let his would be speech be my blog entry for today since I think it really captures the heart of Memorial Day:

Memorial day is one of our most sacred celebrations on the US calendar. Yet like many holidays, Memorial Day is beginning to lose its meaning. A lot of people believe Memorial Day is important because it signifies the beginning of the summer season or just another day off from work or school. However, Memorial Day is much more important than that. Because of the men and women who have served in our armed forces we can all say freely what is on our minds, we can all read what we want, we can all pray to whom we believe in and we can all vote for or against our political leaders.
I am a history buff and I have seen many veterans who say they are not heroes. They often say that the heroes are those who died and those who were wounded in action. Well, you are all heroes and this country can be proud of its long line of heroes. From the Minutemen in the revolution to the sailors on the USS Constitution in the war of 1812, to both the blue and gray, to Havana Harbor, to the trenches of Europe, North Africa and Italy, to the beaches of Normandy, to Guadalcanal, New Guinea, to the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, to the cold of Korea, to the heat of Vietnam, to the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, and to the men and women who have served in peace time, you are all heroes in our eyes.
No matter what branch of the military you served in you were all willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
I encourage everyone to take a moment the next time they look at one of our war memorials in front of the oval and think of those who gave their lives so we could live our lives the way we do. I would like to finish by quoting a veteran of the 82nd Airborne who parachuted on June 6th, 1944 into Saint-Mere-Eglise who said, “Freedom is not free but very expensive.”
Today, and always we thank all veterans and those serving in our armed forced for your service to our country. Thank you.

(PICTURE: The stage where the speeches were held before the parade.)

(PICTURE: They mayor and the first lady of Livingston passing out American flags to children.)