Memorial Day is a special day. Thank you to all those who have served. Here is my small tribute:
America has a courage problem! And every year on Memorial Day, we have a chance to really focus on the uniqueness of America, to rediscover the courage of those who wear and have worn the uniform. Today we remember those who have given everything.
Going back to World War I, we remember the battle at Belleau Wood when the Germans attacked and the French began to retreat. The Americans arrived and were ready to fight. And in the words of Captain Lloyd Williams, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.”
During World War II, the Japanese told us that he would Iwo Jima would last for a thousand years. We raised the flag in three days.
During Vietnam at the Battle of Khe Sahn, 500 American soldiers stood on a hill and said, “You will not take this.” We were outnumbered 30 to 1, and the North Vietnamese forces attacked for 77 days until they finally said to the unrelenting Americans, “You can have it.”
In 2003, we toppled a dictator in Iraq in Firdos Square, and many would have the opportunity to experience freedom for the first time in their lives. I realized I had never gone a day without freedom, and today I am thankful for those who have stood in uniform to make that a reality.
During that same time, a great patriot would suffer a mortal wound in a conflict with the enemy. As he lay dying and the medics tried to save him, he made it clear that this is what he wanted – to fight for liberty alongside his brothers.
This attitude is why we are unique. America has a long history of experiencing adversity and testing our commitment and courage. Time and time again, we have passed the test.
Our troops are simply exceptional going all the way back to our troops who were led by George Washington. On Christmas Day 1776, they prepared to engage against the enemy. What is often not said is that of those 2500 troops, one-third had no shoes.
This is the tradition of those who wear the uniform – relentless sacrifice for something bigger than themselves. It was Samuel Adams who said if we refuse to suffer tamelessly an attack on our liberty, we encourage it.
To our military men and women who serve and to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, thank you for your unwillingness to stand tamelessly when freedom was in jeopardy. Thank you for standing in tough places in defense of America.