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The following is an abridged version of a Memorial Day speech I delivered in Alliance and Hemmingford:
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our country. Today we enjoy the blessings of liberty, but freedom is never free. It was earned by the valor, bravery, and sacrifice of millions of veterans who have fought our wars from the War for Independence to the current War on Terror. Their selfless service and sacrifice continues to be an inspiration to all of the citizens of our great nation.
On December 28, 2000 Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act out of a concern that Memorial Day was losing its significance among our nation’s youth. Congress passed the Act in order “to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble event that that day is intended to be.”
May we never forget those soldiers who bought our liberty by paying for it with the full price of their lives. Therefore, I encourage you to take the opportunity this Memorial Day to remember those who gave their most precious possession of all in order to secure your freedom. I hope you will remember to pause at 3:00 p.m. for a moment of silence in order to pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God and to honor our fallen heroes.
The early patriots of our country were mostly uneducated farmers who set out to win what many considered to be an unwinnable war against the British. During those days a simple call rang out throughout the countryside: “Go to the bridge!” These minutemen understood that an important strategy for winning against the overwhelming forces of the Red Coats was to hold the bridges and keep the enemy out of the open fields. And so it was at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. In order to hold that bridge, they had to ban together as one united force and take a bold stand against the king’s armies. Then, as Ralph Waldo Emerson would later write, a shot rang out which was heard around the world, and all of world history pivoted at that moment in time.
The situation in America today is no different than it was back in the days of the Revolutionary War. We must continue to unite together as one force against our common foe. The call to “Go to the bridge!” is essentially the same today as it was 243 years ago at the Battle of Concord. The only things which have really changed are the identity of our enemy, their tactics of terror, and the size and quality of our weapons.
Therefore, let us not take lightly our call to action to keep America as the greatest nation on earth. We must continue to defend our republic. May we hearken the cry of our Founding Fathers to never allow our great freedoms to be taken from us. Today and every day we must remember those who have taken the bullet on our behalf that we may continue to enjoy our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But, let us also ready ourselves to take up this noble cause and advance it forward. On this very sacred holiday, let us be reminded of the words that President George W. Bush spoke on September 20, 2001 following the collapse of the twin towers in New York City: “We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire; we will not falter; we will not fail.”