American citizens throughout this great land of ours gather on Memorial Day to remember our veterans, past and present.
We gather in cemeteries, large and small.
We come together in city parks and town squares and village greens to celebrate our most meaningful and important observance.
Our nation has observed Memorial Day for over a century, since the time of the Civil War. It’s a time to reflect on the greatness of a nation built on the sacrifices of her soldiers, soldiers who still today serve the underlying dreams of our homeland: freedom and peace, compassion and decency, and democracy.
It is always a great privilege to carry on the essential observance of Memorial Day. To pay tribute to those left behind in Germany and on the beaches of Normandy, Iwo Jima, the hills of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, the sands of the Middle East, and the mountains of Afghanistan.
On June 6, 1984, in remarks commemorating the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, President Ronald Reagan said, “We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”
So we remember our soldiers on Memorial Day.
As well, we must remember and salute the millions of veterans living in New York State, and all of the many millions across our nation. Every single one of them deserves our gratitude.
We must especially remember and salute the men and women who serve in harm’s way this very moment to keep America strong and the world safer in the war against terror. They remain shining examples of the bravery, courage, and honor on which the American way of life has survived. Because of their service, we can look into the eyes of our young, the faces of the future, and have faith that they, too, will be instilled with the spirit to keep America great. To believe that the American way is a good, decent, worthwhile way.
In the end, perhaps this is the greatest justice for all of the missions flown, for all of the foxholes dug, for the hills taken and the battles fought. Our soldiers -- American soldiers -- have made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free, so that she can lead the way to a more free world.
Our soldiers sacrifice to keep alive America’s promise, so that people throughout the world can look to her for inspiration.
Our soldiers sacrifice to keep America strong, so that other nations can draw courage from her strength.
On this Memorial Day it is with a great deal of heartfelt emotion that we are able to say: our soldiers always have and always will stand ready.
For as long as we remember and keep our soldiers alive in our hearts, we will stand as we do -- free in a land of opportunity and promise.