My friends, this Memorial Day I would like to share with you a beautiful and meaningful arrangement of the words spoken by President Ronald Reagan at his first inaugural, January 20, 1981.
The words have been fashioned into a video that I am embedding toward the end of this message.
I found this arrangement of President Reagan’s words quite moving and appropriate for Memorial Day – the one day each year that we honor the men and women who’ve died while serving in our nation’s armed forces.
Here are President Reagan’s words as arranged to highlight the sacrifice of so many brave Americans.
If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.
Those who say that we’re in a time when there are not heroes, they just don’t know where to look…the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery, with its row upon row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.
Each one of those markers is a monument to the kind of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.
Under one such marker lies a young man, Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small town barbershop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.
We’re told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, “My Pledge,” he had written these words: “America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
We must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.
As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it, now or ever.
We are Americans.
Here is the video of the arrangement. If the video does not work in your copy of this message, you can find the video at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVecpn3DUHc
As we begin the summer and work each day to become more self-reliant Americans, I hope we will all pause and reflect on the more than one million Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And it is my fervent wish that we will all redouble our commitment to creating a stronger, freer nation as we move forward.
The price for freedom has been high.
I am thankful that there have always been Americans willing to pay that price.
I pray that there always will be.
If you would like to share your thoughts with me this Memorial Day, please email me at [email protected]
Be safe and secure,