This is the text of my speech today
Memorial Day 2019
Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,
My name is Doug Dawes, Commander of the Georgetown Rene J Gagnon American Legion Post #211. Along with the Wanda Codair Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7608 we welcome you to the observance of Memorial Day 2019.
On Memorial Day we stand in memorial for those veterans, men and women, who have served our nation and have passed from this Earth. Memorial Day is a somber day and is not intended to be a celebration but rather a remembrance and honoring for our deceased veterans
My comments today are generic in nature as they could mean your son, daughter, brother sister, husband or wife.
Picture this, if you will…
It all started out to be a nice day it’s peaceful, the weather is nice & all is going well. You often think and pray for your child who’s serving the country in a theater of combat. You are very proud of them. You take notice of what seems to be an official looking vehicle headed down the street, but you’re not sure.
“Why is it stopping here?”
Your senses go on alert.
You see two people, one is an officer and the other is an NCO get out of the vehicle. (note, they will be from the military organization your child is serving in) They’re dressed in their Class A uniforms. and they’re walking towards your door. Your curiosity begins to turn into a little anxiety.
You think, “What’s going on?” “No Lord, please No!
You go to the door to greet them.
You’re standing there on the stoop when they get to you.
“Hi, what can I do for you?”
“Are you Mr. Citizen sir?”
“Sir, may we come in, please?”
You notice your nerves intensify.
You open the door and invite them in.
You hope they don’t see your body begins to vibrate.
You and your spouse sit down and hold each other. You instinctively know what’s next.
The next words strike you and make you numb.
“The Commandant of the Marine Corps has entrusted me to express his deep regret and to inform you, your son Corporal James Citizen was killed in action while engaging enemy forces in the city of Hue, Vietnam. He was mortally wounded by shrapnel from a grenade.”
You’re stunned and summon all your courage to console your family and stay strong. They wait a bit and then continue.
“Sir, Ma’am, The Commandant extends his deepest sympathy to you and your family in your loss.”
You’re heartbroken, you’re angry, you’re a number of different emotions. All of a sudden everything has changed. You’ve experienced something that no person should have to experience.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here in the memory of those who have fallen while in military service.
More than one million American service members have died in wars that our nation has been involved in since the first colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775.
Many more who did not die in battle have died by their own hand. Not because they wanted to die but because they wanted the pain to end. Many soldiers, both young and old, have nightmares. Others struggle from diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, 13 different cancers, heart disease and more from the effects of Agent Orange.
The American military recruits the best and finest crop of young men and women the country has to offer. We must continue to shower them with appreciation, support and prayers as they put their lives on the line, FOR US.
This day, Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude to those who gave their lives and to promise to never forget their or their family’s sacrifice.
Freedom is not free. There is a price to be paid. Do you know what it is? We owe them a debt that can never be repaid.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, expressed it beautifully, "Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free."
President, Abraham Lincoln, put it, "Freedom is the last, best hope of earth."
President John F. Kennedy said, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, & oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
President Lyndon Johnson exclaimed, "Peace does not come just because we wish for it. Peace must be fought for. It must be built stone by stone."
President Ronald Reagan stated, “Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace—a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation.
No sane person wants war, yet, history is punctuated by it. Humans are a warring species. It’s inherent in each of us. I mean, we even war against our own Creator, never mind each other!
We must heed the words of our first Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington who said in 1798, “The willingness with which our young people will fight in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.”
Veterans are an extraordinary group of citizens. From their extraordinary accomplishments comes OUR extraordinary debt to them. For those accomplishments and for their dedication, we must always be grateful. Just remember, The graves filled with veterans bodies are the cost of freedom.
I’ll end with a prayer I’ve used before written by Eleanor Roosevelt.
Eleanor Roosevelt's Wartime Prayer
Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that somewhere,
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?
There are at least two who think you are worthy to die for.
One died for your soul
The other is the American soldier.
God bless you all for being here, God bless our veterans, God bless Georgetown, God bless Massachusetts and God bless America