Memorial DayDear Friends,
Monday, May 27 is Memorial Day. For many, it is a day off of work or school that is spent with family and friends over good food and fellowship often blessed by warm weather and sunshine.
Whatever your tradition on this day may be, it is important to realize that so many of our fellow Americans will never again enjoy such time with loved ones. These patriotic and selfless individuals gave what Lincoln referred to as "the last full measure" for their country.
Out of the 365 days in a year, Memorial Day is the one set aside to remember and honor the men and women of our armed forces who have paid the ultimate price so that you and I may live and live free. So it is for them that we celebrate this annual holiday.
The freedom, opportunity and blessings that we as Americans enjoy are truly unique in this world. Although our nation has experienced significant trials and tribulations, its experiment in building a society based upon individual freedom has been a resounding success. We owe this success to the guardians of liberty for whom this day is dedicated.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, past and present, have sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to protect our lives, our liberties and our happiness. They served in times of peace and war, on our own soil and across the globe, in famous battles and obscure conflicts. Some returned to a hero's welcome while others came home to protests and insults. Countless numbers have been severely injured or permanently affected in other ways.
More than 1 million have returned home lifeless or never returned at all. Memorial Day is their day, not ours. It is a day to honor these fallen, to remind ourselves of the gift they gave us, and to offer comfort to the families they left behind.
Whether you attend a local ceremony or parade, participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., fly your flag at half-staff from sunrise to noon, or mark the day in your own special way, your remembrance ensures that their sacrifice is not in vain. Freedom is not free. A nation that forgets its cost and those who paid it is destined to lose that freedom.
The Michigan Senate hosted its 19th annual Memorial Service on Thursday, May 23 at 10 a.m. in the Senate chamber. Vassar native Army Sgt. Travis Mills was the keynote speaker. You may view the ceremony and his remarks here.
I recently heard a saying adapted from a well-known song that is especially appropriate for this time. "All gave some. Some gave all. Some are still giving."
This Memorial Day, let us remember these brave heroes. Let us honor their sacrifice by making them the center of our day on Monday, May 27.