Honoring our nation’s fallen heroes

7 years ago

I was humbled to join with citizens from across Maine and the nation who gathered in remembrance of those who answered the call to serve and made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of the United States. We came together on Memorial Day to express our lasting gratitude to these brave members of our communities for their service and to remind ourselves of the eternal debt we owe them.

While many of us may be reminded each day by the empty seat at the table or the voice now unheard, we can take comfort in knowing that through our continued service to their fellow servicemembers and the veterans who have returned, the memory of our fallen heroes endures.

As we memorialize the patriotism, courage, and sense of duty of the brave servicemembers who no longer walk among us, may we also renew our commitment to the ongoing defense of the United States. With our country facing threats across the globe, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen continue to vigilantly serve on our behalf, every hour of every day. Their sacrifice and willingness to answer the call of duty in the face of grave peril deserves our unceasing appreciation and support.

The Memorial Day ritual of laying flowers and wreaths at the final resting place of those who have died in the service of the nation began during the Civil War, and has its origins in both Union and Confederate traditions. In the wake of the most divisive period of American history, the tradition of gathering to honor our fallen and to rededicate ourselves to supporting their fellow servicemembers was a unifying ritual—as it remains to this day. In the final months of the Civil War, in his Second Inaugural Address, President Abraham Lincoln expressed this unity, calling all Americans to, “bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

On May 29 we joined together to heed this call to service as we remembered the sons and daughters, of all eras, who fell in the defense of our Nation.

May God bless them, and may God bless the United States of America.