President Ronald Reagan Reminds Us What Memorial Day Is All About


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This Memorial Day, we’re reminded of the sacrifices of the so many who’ve given their lives to defend this nation – from tyranny, fascism, communism and the evil whims of horrible minds.

If in case you have a flag, put it up. For those who don’t, purchase one. If there’s a parade, or a solemn ceremony, attend.

If in case you have kids, remind them that the liberty they may develop up in was not achieved – and isn’t secured – by way of appeasement or lodging, however solely by confronting and destroying the evils that threaten the world’s final nice hope for liberty.

On this spirit, we provide the remarks from President Ronald Reagan at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery in 1986:

Right now is the day we put apart to recollect fallen heroes and to wish that no heroes will ever should die for us once more. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to recollect the splendor of America and people of her kids who relaxation on this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the household and keep in mind.

I used to be considering this morning that throughout the nation kids and their dad and mom shall be going to the city parade and the younger ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags because the band goes by. Later, possibly, they’ll have a cookout or a day on the seaside. And that’s good, as a result of at present is a day to be with the household and to recollect.

Arlington, this place of so many reminiscences, is a becoming place for some remembering. So many great women and men relaxation right here, women and men who led colourful, vivid, and passionate lives. There are the greats of the navy: Bull Halsey and the Admirals Leahy, father and son; Black Jack Pershing; and the GI’s basic, Omar Bradley. Nice males all, navy males. However there are others right here recognized for different issues.

Right here in Arlington rests a sharecropper’s son who turned a hero to a lonely individuals. Joe Louis got here from nowhere, however he knew easy methods to battle. And he galvanized a nation within the days after Pearl Harbor when he placed on the uniform of his nation and stated, “I do know we’ll win as a result of we’re on God’s aspect.”

Audie Murphy is right here, Audie Murphy of the wild, wild braveness. For what else would you name it when a person bounds to the highest of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his males, and all of it single-handedly. When he radioed for artillery help and was requested how shut the enemy was to his place, he stated, “Wait a minute and I’ll allow you to communicate to them.” [Laughter]

Michael Smith is right here, and Dick Scobee, each of the area shuttle Challenger. Their braveness wasn’t wild, however considerate, the mature and measured braveness of profession professionals who took prudent dangers for nice reward—of their case, to advance the sum whole of data on this planet.

They’re solely the most recent to relaxation right here; they be part of different nice explorers with names like Grissom and Chaffee.

Oliver Wendell Holmes is right here, the nice jurist and fighter for the correct. A poet trying to find a picture of true majesty couldn’t relaxation till he seized on “Holmes dissenting in a sordid age.” Younger Holmes served within the Civil Battle.

He might need been considering of the crosses and stars of Arlington when he wrote: “On the grave of a hero we finish, not with sorrow on the inevitable loss, however with the contagion of his braveness; and with a sort of determined pleasure we return to the battle.”

All of those males have been completely different, however they shared this in widespread: They beloved America very a lot. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for her. They usually beloved with the sureness of the younger. It’s exhausting not to consider the younger in a spot like this, for it’s the younger who do the preventing and dying when a peace fails and a struggle begins. Not removed from right here is the statue of the three servicemen—the three preventing boys of Vietnam. It, too, has majesty and extra. Maybe you’ve seen it—three tough boys strolling collectively, wanting forward with a gentle gaze. There’s one thing wounded about them, a sort of resigned toughness. However there’s an surprising tenderness, too. At first you don’t actually discover, however then you definately see it. The three are touching one another, as in the event that they’re supporting one another, serving to one another on.

I do know that many veterans of Vietnam will collect at present, a few of them maybe by the wall. They usually’re nonetheless serving to one another on. They have been fairly a gaggle, the boys of Vietnam—boys who fought a horrible and harsh struggle with out sufficient help from residence, boys who have been dodging bullets whereas we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was usually our poor who fought in that struggle; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They realized to not depend on us; they realized to depend on one another. They usually have been particular in one other manner: They selected to be devoted. They selected to reject the trendy skepticism of their time. They selected to consider and reply the decision of obligation. They’d the wild, wild braveness of youth. They seized certainty from the center of an ambivalent age; they stood for one thing.

And we owe them one thing, these boys. We owe them first a promise: That simply as they didn’t neglect their lacking comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are different guarantees. We should at all times do not forget that peace is a fragile factor that wants fixed vigilance. We owe them a promise to take a look at the world with a gentle gaze and, maybe, a resigned toughness, figuring out that we’ve got adversaries on this planet and challenges and the one approach to meet them and preserve the peace is by staying sturdy.

That, after all, is the lesson of this century, a lesson realized within the Sudetenland, in Poland, in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in Cambodia. If we actually care about peace, we should keep sturdy. If we actually care about peace, we should, by way of our power, display our unwillingness to just accept an ending of the peace. We should be sturdy sufficient to create peace the place it doesn’t exist and robust sufficient to guard it the place it does. That’s the lesson of this century and, I feel, of today. And that’s all I wished to say. The remainder of my contribution is to depart this great spot to its peace, a peace it has earned.

Thank all of you, and God bless you, and have a day filled with reminiscences.

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