Memorial Day – May 27, 2013
All Honor to American Soldiers
Our Humble Gratitude and Heartfelt Thanks
This weekend, formally commemorated on the fourth Monday of every May, America unites in Memorial Day solemn remembrance of every member of the Armed Forces who has fought and died defending our nation, in the never-ending struggle to preserve and protect the God-given liberty enshrined in our Constitution.
America stands proud and free because our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have stood courageously in harm's way – today, yesterday and for generations long past. For their steadfast devotion to duty, honor and country, we, the American People, offer our humble gratitude and heartfelt thanks.
Let us remember that since the American Revolution, tens of millions of Americans have served our nation with honor and fortitude, and almost 1.2 million have died in defense of our freedom. Another 1.4 million have been wounded, many gravely. These harrowing numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable worth of each patriot's life, or of the loss and anguish borne by each suffering family. But we do know that their sacrifices upheld their sacred oath to protect and defend these United States, and secured for us a most precious gift from God – the gift of liberty that we cherish today.
On this Memorial Day, and every day of the year, may God bless our men and women in uniform, those who have served before them, and their families. May God bless those preparing to come after them: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:12-14)
It is only because the men and women of these United States volunteer their military service with honor, courage, determination, steadfastness and selfless sacrifice that America remains free, our liberty is sustained and the civilized world is defended from tyranny and travail.
Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines – we, your fellow citizens, honor you with our deepest gratitude, the tribute of our love and ceremonies recalling our undying memory of especially those fallen in battle – to commemorate the incalculable price you have paid for our freedom.
We know, as Abraham Lincoln said of the Gettysburg battlefield, that it is
"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."
We, as a nation, can never truly repay our brave warriors who have served and suffered in battle, or their families, for their heroic devotion to America – but we can certainly show them our love and take time this weekend to prayerfully pay them the honor they have earned from a grateful people.
Ambassador Alan Keyes