Memorial Day 2003 Welcome Speech
The following is the Welcome Speech given by Supervisor Peter A. McMahon to open the Memorial Day services held in DeGlopper Memorial Park on Monday, May 26, 2003.
Welcome to the Town of Grand Island's 24th annual Memorial Day Services. I'm very pleased to see so many friends and neighbors here on a beautiful morning like this.
May 26th, 2003 is another Memorial Day which finds this nation at war. Men and women, of our armed forces, including some from this community, are once again defending our country and its freedoms. In some ways, this Memorial Day is different from those which came before it. At least I think it should be for anyone who has not personally experienced war. This year is different because all of us have fresh memories of war. It's different because all of us have fresh memories of the nighttime pictures of bombs falling on Baghdad.
This year, all of us have fresh memories of live video of our armored columns racing across the Iraqi Desert.
All of us have fresh memories of the emotions we felt when we saw video of the daring rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch and the rest of our POW's.
This year, all of us have fresh memories of our nation's war with Iraq. Those fresh memories make this Memorial Day different.
In some ways, this Memorial Day is exactly the same as every other Memorial Day. It is a solemn day, set aside by a grateful nation, and by this small community, to honor and to remember those brave souls, who gave their lives defending us. Heroic men and women who made the supreme sacrifice protecting their families and their neighbors. Nothing we can do or say will bring them back. Nothing can ever replace them. All that's left are memories. They accepted their responsibility and they gave their lives.
Now, we who are left must accept our responsibility. The responsibility is to make certain that the memories of those who gave their lives do not fade. To make certain that this generation - and all the generations which follow remember their sacrifice and remember it well.
Our responsibility is to make certain that the memories of the heroes of the past remain fresh in our minds just like the memories of today. To make absolutely certain that we do not forget as nation, as a community, and as individuals we must always have fresh memories of those who made it possible for us to live in freedom.
Your presence here today demonstrates that you have not forgotten those whose sacrifices gave us the freedom to hold this memorial service. Thank you for being here and thank you for remembering.