Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day 2005: Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice

by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Congressman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.)

In a tradition that began just three short years after the end of our Civil War, Americans set aside the 30th day of May each year to remember the sacrifice made by our service men and women who died while defending the precious gift of liberty.

This weekend, Americans will gather to honor those who gave their full measure in defense of our freedoms. This is the true meaning of Memorial Day, a day to remember more than a million men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation and the liberties we hold dear.

On the battlefield of Gettysburg, in the midst of our nation’s civil war, Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to ensure that liberty would not perish from the earth. Each Memorial Day, we recall, with reverence and honor, those fallen patriots who sustained the cause of liberty so eloquently enshrined in Lincoln’s words.

We Americans owe a deep debt of gratitude to the men and women who have defended our nation down through a dozen generations. On Memorial Day, we remember those souls – fathers, sons, mothers, daughters – who came from across our country and from all walks of life to selflessly offer their service.

Their silent and honored ranks are now joined by heroes from a new generation who answered the nation’s call in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure others the fundamental rights of liberty. Even as their sacrifice preserved our freedoms at home, it has brought forth a flowering of democracy abroad, still fragile and wondrous in its unfolding.

This month also marks the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. More than 4 million Americans served in our armed forces in the cauldron of Europe. Nearly 200,000 of them made the ultimate sacrifice there serving the cause of freedom. We honor the service and sacrifices made by them. Their legacy -- and the legacy of their generation -- is a freer world of opportunity and equality, which we inherit with gratitude and serve with humility.

We can on this day honor our dead and express our deep gratitude during the National Moment of Remembrance. At 3:00 p.m. local time, stop what you are doing and pause for a minute of reflection. If you are driving, turn on your headlights.

The freedom we hold dear as Americans is a longstanding heritage secured by the sacrifice of those who won that freedom but can no longer savor it. While we mourn our war dead, we rejoice that such patriots lived. We can pay tribute to their service and lives by the vigilant protection of our liberty.

Theirs is the ultimate sacrifice and in honoring their lives, we remember what is best in our nation. We today honor those who lost their life in service to preserve our liberties.

Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) is Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Congressman Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) is Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.


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