Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

The Memorial Day observance at Isidro Baca Park drew an estimated crowd of 100, who heard remarks by Peter Romero, paying respect to women in the armed forces. The prayer was delivered by Civil Air Patrol Chaplain Phil Preston. The National Anthem was performed by Elizabeth Barteau and Elizabeth Smoake.

Left, guest speaker John Larson speaks on the importance of respecting the fallen.

Photo by Vanessa Quinones

Remarks By John Larson On Memorial Day

From what I understand, the first Memorial Day in 1868 was to honor those soldiers who died in the Civil War, both Union and Confederate. It was looked on as a day of American reconciliation. For both sides were fighting for different aspects of our American principles.
So, I ask myself what Memorial Day means to me. I can only speak from my own experience – not from movies or books, but from people I knew that are now dead.
It means mission accomplished. By saying that, I mean these fallen men - and women - fulfilled their mission when their lives were cut short.
Their first mission was to serve their country, whether voluntarily enlisting or being called up – as in past conflicts. To fulfill a responsibility with which most countrymen are not faced. Those who go down to the enlistment office to sign up may feel a strong sense of moral obligation – to fight the good fight - or patriotism - or may be simply looking for an adventure – to be part of something bigger than he or she.
Those who were “called up” were no less. They perform their job conscientiously and carry out their duties honorably and professionally. Like those who enlisted, they are trained well - and together they become like a flaming sword for what is right and what our nation stands for.
Their other mission was that for which they were trained – to follow the orders of their superiors. Throughout the years, from the deserts of North Africa to the jungles of Guadalcanal to the Korean peninsula to the foot trails of Vietnam to the villages of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan – they carry out their assignment. For far too many, their lives were cut short in doing so. But the fact that they consciously put themselves in harm’s way – says to me – they were successful. They performed their duty. And I honor those countrymen of mine for putting our ideals – our freedoms – the defense of our families and communities - above their own lives.
I have no higher respect than for those men and women who know what it’s like to be in service to our nation – us – and have sober reverence for those whose very lives were ended serving the United States of America – that’s you and me.
And to those currently serving – I salute you.


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