Thoughts on Memorial Day from Secretary of State Charlie Summers:
As a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Memorial Day has particular significance to me. It is a time to take stock of the present, reflect on the past, and renew our commitment to the future of America.
Today is most certainly a day to remember those who have given their lives in service to our nation and for the cause of freedom.
America is strong and good because there have always been men and women willing to serve a cause greater than themselves, and help build a society that is truly a beacon which calls to all who yearn to be free.
Today, we certainly have our share of problems and challenges – issues that must be resolved – but, as always, we can and will settle them as free men and women – free to choose our destiny – free because of the sacrifice of those who have served the cause of liberty in times of need. And it is these brave soldiers to whom we are forever indebted.
As we mark this day, let us do so with grateful hearts and tremendous pride. Let us lift up the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to that place of honor they so richly deserve.
And should we meet those who may question the wisdom of the sacrifices of our brave men and women for the cause of freedom, let us never forget these words:
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.
Let us be strengthened by the courage of these brave men and women – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – who have fought and died for our great land. May we today and forevermore honor their valor by standing for the cause of freedom – the cause for which they died.