We are blessed



On Monday, May 25, 2015 Americans across this nation and

citizens located around the world will pause throughout the day to

observe Memorial Day. Since its first official observation on 5 May,

1868, when it was called Declaration Day, it has been a day of

remembrance for those who sacrificed and died in our nation’s

service. And while it was originally dedicated to honor Civil War

soldiers, we know it today as a celebration in memory of all who

have fought for and defended our right to freedom.

In 1968 the observation of this day was established to be the last Monday in May. Today it

remains a time of observation to honor and to respect those who fought to protect the liberties

that our Founding Fathers proclaimed with certainty in the Declaration of Independence and that

were thoughtfully and carefully framed in the Constitution of the United States. In his

proclamation to set aside this day in 1868, General Logan instructed there to be thoughts to

“…cherish tenderly the memories of our heroic dead who made their breast a barricade

between our country and its foes”.

To those who died securing peace and freedom; To those who served in conflict to protect our

land, and sacrificed their dreams of the day to preserve the hope of our nation keeping


the land of the free for over two centuries we

owe our thanks and our honor. It is important to

not only recognize their service but to respect their devotion to duty and to ensure that the

purpose for which they fought will never be forgotten.

From the soldiers who fought bravely during the American

Revolution to the men and women of today’s Armed Forces,

America’s fighting forces, have responded bravely to this

nation’s call to duty. Both on the battlefield and in their

assurance of readiness, members of the nation’s military

remain bound to their duty. For more than 200 years,

America’s Armed Forces have been the surest guarantee that

Freedom will continue to ring across this land –

From Sea to Shining Sea!

The lives of the men and women who fought in America’s battles,

and who served their country in support of the military, made

significant sacrifice in fighting for the freedom and liberty that we

enjoy today. Too often we fail to remember those who gave their

life, or those whose life today bears the scars as a lasting

memory of that sacrifice and commitment. But there are many

who remember vividly as the lives affected were sons, daughters,

friends, coworkers

and neighbors – and that their unselfish

sacrifice was made with the assurance that life, liberty and the

pursuit of happiness required the ultimate service to their nation.

In a very moving letter, Abraham Lincoln expressed the respect and consolation of a nation and

his own compassion to Mrs. Bixby, who lost five sons in combat during the Civil War. Mr.

Lincoln’s letter expressed the compassion that he felt with the honor due the fallen soldiers:







Kohima Epitaph

Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files….that

you are the mother of five sons who have died

gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and

fruitless must be any words of mine which should

attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so

overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to

you the consolation that may be found in the thanks

of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our

heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your

bereavement, and leave you only the cherished

memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride

that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice

upon the altar of freedom. A. Lincoln

In the Revolutionary War more than 25,000 lost their life in

this initial pursuit of freedom that they believed in but could

not have fully comprehended at that time. In the Civil War

almost 600,000 gave their lives as the very foundation of

this nation was challenged from within its own boundaries;

WWII claimed the lives of more than 400,000; and scores of

others gave their life in wars in Korea and in Vietnam. And

America continues to realize the never ending sense of duty

that our Armed forces have as they serve our nation

throughout the world. In each instance, without regard to

politics or the popular opinion of the moment, soldiers have

picked up their arms to begin the awesome task of fighting

for our freedom and to push back the threat to those

freedoms when made by others throughout the world.

In 1776, America’s Founding Fathers declared the intent for this new nation to be independent

and free – WE hold these truths to be selfevident,

that all men are created equal, that

they are endowed by their creator with …rights… (of) Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of

happiness… And, to this day whether out of commitment to this Declaration or to their duty to

defend these rights from encroachment, our Armed Forces fight to preserve this nation for all

that call it home.

Early in the War for Independence, Captain Nathan

Hale was captured by the British and executed as a

spy. His dying words

I only regret that I have but

one life to lose for my countryecho

the sentiment

that seems to exemplify the resolve of America’s

soldiers who go forward into battle to protect and to

defend the rights and freedoms that each of us enjoy

today. Nathan Hale held strongly to a vision of

America as free and strong – and thankfully so do the

men and women who continue to serve in American’s

Armed Forces.

During the Revolutionary war the Stars and Stripes flew high as a symbol of freedom and

provided inspiration as Francis Scott Key inscribed the words to the Star Spangled Banner.

And, while we remember so vividly the first verse, it is the third verse that I believe honors the

soldiers who fought so bravely for that flag and who stand ready to defend it today should the

nation call for their service.

O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand;

Between their loved homes and war’s desolation;

Blessed vict’ry and peace, may the heaven rescued land;

Praise the power that hath made and preserved as a nation;

Then conquer we must when our cause is just;

And this be our motto, In God is our Trust…..

Our flag is truly a symbol of the freedoms that we fight so diligently

to protect. From Key’s vision of bombs bursting through the

morning air to the courageous memory of Marines raising the flag

at Iwo Jima The

American Flag is a symbol of freedom that we

celebrate and hold sacred. Let it also remind each of us of the

sacrifice made by men and women throughout our nation so that

this flag could stand tall. And, let us not forget that we will ever see

it wave as a nation of free people because of the lives that we

honor each Memorial Day.

In his speech at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln’s words focused on

the loss of life during the Civil War and the higher cause for which

the lives were given, but they ring true as a reminder for today… that from these honored

dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure

of devotion…that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that

government of the people, by the people, for the people….should not perish from this

earth. Lincoln’s charge was to ensure that the cause to which each soldier gave their life would

not be lost, and that this Union, which he himself had given an oath to preserve, protect and

defend, would grow ever stronger.

During the Civil War, Walt Whitman observed

soldiers on both sides as they fought for their beliefs

and suffered the pain, tragedy and death of war.

Whitman’s observations regarding the real

mechanics and loss in War express truth that many

of us can not truly realize today as noone except the

soldier can really know the pain and agony that our

fighting forces experience during battle. “Future

years will never know the seething hell and the

black infernal background of…the …War. The

real war will never get in the books.”

During WWII, as soldiers were preparing to land at

beaches around France and to begin the push

necessary to stop the threat of Nazi control, these

words echo the hope that the world placed in the

defenders of our freedom – then and now:

“… on these craft hang the future of Europe and

the course of history. In the hands of these men,

free men everywhere have placed their hope for

today and prayer for tomorrow.”

Theodore Roosevelt conveyed the thoughts of the world in his words to the nation during a time

of concern and uncertainty about the future: “..with confidence in our armed forces, with the

unbridled determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us

God.” And with the uncertainty of battle ahead, and with doubts of whether they would live to

see tomorrow, America’s military remained committed to their duty and to the battle that had to

be fought to achieve the desired victory.

The D Day

invasion claimed the lives of many

American and other Allied fighting forces. A

memorial at the American Cemetery overlooking

Omaha Beach contains this inscription:

These Endured All And Gave All That

Justice Among Nations Might Prevail and

That Mankind Might Enjoy Freedom and

Inherit Peace.

Further into the cemetery, an inscription dedicated

to the memory of those who fought to control the beaches of Normandy serves as a permanent

reminder of the gratitude and respect for the Allied soldiers. These words also provide a lasting

memory to the sacrifice made by Americans throughout this nation’s history to preserve and

protect our Freedom. It reads:

This Embattled Shore, Portal of Freedom, Is Forever Hallowed by the Ideals, Valor,

Sacrifices of Our Fellow Countrymen.

During the Korean War, soldiers fought to defend a country and a people that they did not know.

These soldiers answered the call of duty and defended, for all of us, the rights of Freedom

against an enemy that is represented today by those who want to tear down our liberty and to

destroy the freedom that has been preserved to this day by those who have fought to defend it.

The freedoms that were defined in the Declaration of Independence were made possible by

those individuals who were willing to lay down their life for the pursuit of freedom and the belief

that liberty was a right of all men. During the Civil War, Lincoln’s Proclamation that ……inspired

those whose freedoms were stolen from them and by the end of the war more than 200,000

black soldiers and sailors had joined to fight for a future that they believed was possible. And

many times since then our freedom has been guaranteed by the resolve of the armed forces

who have refused to turn from the foes of liberty that would set themselves against this Nation,

its Allies and the foundation of Godly principles upon which it stands.


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