A day of gratitude and remembrance
From this perspective
Memorial Day will soon be here, and Armed Forces Day has just passed. Many of us recall the words of John F. Kennedy when he said “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
We remember JFK and we remember the thousands of men and women who have given so unselfishly for their country. We will not forget on this Memorial Day or any day for that matter, the greatness of those who have and are now serving with such noble valor and committed virtue.
We pay grateful tribute to our American veterans and to all of our current armed service and civilian personnel who are in the valiant service of our Country. The story of America has been written by the selfless and noble deeds of hardworking and dedicated men and women dedicated to liberty and justice in a free society. Our American veterans, current uniform and non-uniformed personnel are truly endemic of that ranking. We extol them for their dedication to our homeland and liberty. Their noble service is endemic of human exceptionalism.
Today, the United States stands as a beacon of hope for all humanity. Our nation’s experiment as a republic has been guarded and ennobled by our veterans’ and civilians’ service. George Washington said, “The willingness which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their nation.” Washington said it well.
Often, we take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of those lost in service. This is a time to remember. For this is a national debt that can only be truly repaid by individual Americans. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus memorialize their service and sacrifice
Over the course of our history, some 42 million Americans have served — and well over one million have given the supreme sacrifice — so that we and future generations of Americans might live in freedom. We are the beneficiaries of their courage, their sacrifice and their dedication, and so are countless of freedom loving people around the world.
In the current and past century alone, through two world wars and the long, tense struggles of the Cold War, and on the front lines of battle in various parts of the world, men and women have risked their lives. They risked all they had to protect U.S. interests, assist our allies and promote peace and safety. They fought our enemies on foreign shores, at sea and in the air to preserve freedom. They had no second thoughts as to what had to be done. Ronald Reagan said it well, “No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” Thanks to their extraordinary record of brilliant service.
President Kennedy once said, “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to untiring effort, to continual sacrifice and to the willingness, if necessary, to die in its defense.” We give thanks to the veterans and to the current members of our Armed Forces and willing civilians for their valiant dedication. Whether serving on bases and in ports at home or deployed across the globe, they have endured hardship and danger to protect our Nation and to assist freedom loving people around the world. Their deeds of noble commitment and personal valor bind us in our past, inspire us in the present and strengthen us to meet the challenges for a hopeful and bountiful future. They are an inspiration and their valor WE WILL NOT FORGET.
Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is a resident of Gowanda and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at SUNY Fredonia.