The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Thoughts from veterans on Memorial Day


[Editor's note: VFW Post Commander Bill Tawater read the following remarks from post member Bob Roche on Monday as veterans and their supporters gathered at Greenwood Cemetery.]

As we observe Memorial Day, we do more than just carry on a tradition dating back to 1866, we also fulfill a commitment.

Throughout history, those who serve and defend, those who have faced the greatest dangers and won the greatest battles, and those who die for their country receive the highest honors. Today we honor our fallen, but we also embrace a feeling of honor, patriotism and pride.

From the patriots who fired the first shots of the American Revolution, to the forces we have deployed around the world today, America has been blessed to have citizens who will serve, fight and sometimes die for this country. It is not for money or medals that such people step forward. It is instead for patriotism, a love for this country and the values on which it was founded--life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Millions of men and women have selflessly answered the call of nations in need. Throughout our history, they've fought for a myriad of reasons--to gain independence, to maintain the union, and to help free the world from tyranny, oppression and evil.

Today we pay tribute to those heroic patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice . . . who bravely rose up and fought for something greater than themselves, protecting a home to which they never returned. We honor their service, mourn their loss, and remember the families they left behind.

In the quiet stillness of this hallowed day, we must remember there has been no other nation on Earth whose sacrifice has been greater than ours; none who have given so much to afford freedom for others. The sacred ground around Arlington and our cemeteries in France, Belgium, Hawaii, the Philippines and elsewhere remain somber testaments to the steep price of achieving and maintaining freedom around the globe.

This Memorial Day, with heavy hearts, we recall the lost. They had names; they had families; they were our brothers and sisters, dads and children. It is their sacrifice that has paid for the freedoms we enjoy today.

In an effort to repay a debt that can never truly be repaid, we must honor the legacy of our nation's fallen by educating all who believe Memorial Day is just another holiday and pass our knowledge along to the next generation so they may do the same.

We must ensure the youth of tomorrow understand the true cost of freedom. There is no greater way to honor the memory of those who have secured it.

Serving with dedication and valor, America's veterans deserve proper medical care, support and compensation for their many sacrifices to our country. They deserve the opportunity for employment, education and a home in which to live.

Each of us here today must leave with a renewed commitment to do all we can to help those who have done so much for us and asked nothing in return.

As we depart, we will undoubtedly continue to bear the burden of loss that comes with losing a family member, friend, one of our brothers or sisters-in-arms, but may we find comfort in knowing their lives were not lost in vain, and remain forever grateful to them for having gifted us the greatest gift on earth--freedom.


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