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VHA CC News: Memorial Day 2017

Honoring Their Legacy

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, Americans enjoy the blessings of a free nation. Blessings protected by the selfless service of men and women in uniform standing watch over their nation ready to defend and protect us from evil at a moment’s notice.

For nearly two and a half centuries, millions of America’s finest citizens have answered the call to duty, raising their hand and pledging to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies.”

And defend it they have.

Every single freedom and liberty we enjoy can be traced back to a battlefield. From the Battles of Lexington and Concord that gave birth to our nation, to the mountain caves in Afghanistan where forces have rooted out terrorists, Americans have paid for our way of life by giving theirs.

Today, on Memorial Day we honor those who paid the ultimate price for me … for you … for the country they so dearly loved.

Since our nation’s founding, more than one million lives that have been laid upon the altar of freedom– a staggering number, and a staggering price.

While we can never repay such a debt, but we can honor their memory and pledge our love and support to their families and their brothers and sister in arms who returned from war.

As President Lincoln so eloquently pledged during his second inaugural address:

“Let us strive to…bind up the nation’s wounds…
to care for those who have borne the battle…
to do all which may achieve… a just and a lasting peace,
among ourselves, and with all nations.”
President Abraham Lincoln

 

At VA, we embrace the full meaning of these words. Every day, nearly than 350,000 VA employees in our hospitals, national cemeteries and benefits offices across the country recommit themselves to fulfilling President Lincoln’s call to serve Veterans and their families. We do so proudly, providing high-quality health care … benefits befitting their sacrifices … and tributes and eternal praise in National Cemeteries that have become national shrines.

On this day particularly, our hearts go out to them and to the spouses and loved ones of those whose lives have been changed forever by the untimely death of a Veteran in service to our nation.

What we can do – and what we must do – is remember their loved ones and their sacrifice. We must remember what they did; why they did it; and appreciate what it means to us – personally and as a nation.

We can honor their sacrifice by serving their brothers and sisters in arms, who also put their lives on the line to preserve our freedoms. Today, we pledge our devotion to these men and women and recommit ourselves to carrying out President Lincoln’s pledge …to care for those “ who shall have borne the battle.”

Please join Americans everywhere for the National Moment of Remembrance, legislated by Congress and proclaimed by the President. At 3 p.m., your local time, on Memorial Day, join fellow Americans in pausing for one minute—wherever you may be—in an act of unity and gratitude for the heroes who have gave their lives in service to our nation. It is a moment to share and remember.

If you would like to join thousands of patriotic citizens from around the country that will honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's fallen heroes at one of VA’s 133 national cemeteries, you can find a local event near you by visiting the National Cemetary Administration website which contains a listing of 2017 Memorial Day ceremonies.

Further reading about Memorial Day