Today throughout our country, people will gather on consecrated ground to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending the freedom of our country. We not only remember those who died while serving, but we remember and honor all who served. I am deeply grateful for all who have served and who continue to serve.
A few people come to mind as I reflect on Memorial Day. I think of Dick and Craig Munsen. Dick served during World War II and was shot down and evaded capture in Yugoslavia. Craig was a naval aviator serving during peace time. He was killed when his jet exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near Puerto Rico. I have a set of wings that Craig’s wife, Emmanuelle, gave me after the memorial service. He was one of my best friends and I miss him.
I also think of Bill Larson who was a medic and was part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy. I think of Richard Ness who was injured several times in Korea. I think of those who have served recently, Max Hermanson, our nephew who did a couple tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I also think of Gabe Yeakel who is currently with the Guard, serving in Afghanistan. There are several others.
It is neat to see all the flags in the cemeteries commemorating this holiday. Each flag represents a life of someone who served. I thank God for the willingness of these men and women to serve our country.
I hope that if you did not get a chance to attend a service at a cemetery today that you will at least take some time and reflect on the freedoms you have because people were and are willing to fight for them.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln