As you and your family commemorate Memorial Day this weekend, I hope you will join me in remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the greatest nation on earth.
We mourn the loss of some of the best among us, men and women who dared to put their lives on the line in defense of our freedom, who answered the call to service in their nation's hour of need. They are a distinctive breed; former President Bush said of them that "they saw a dark shadow on the horizon - and they went to meet it."
I am humbled by the service of the brave men and women of our armed forces who put country before self, who, seeing that dark shadow on the horizon, do not tremble, but stand up to meet the challenge. We are all deeply indebted to those who have served, and on this weekend, we share in the grief of those who have lost a loved one in the horrors of war, but also in expressing our gratitude for those who have purchased our freedom with the last measure of devotion.
Memorial Day weekend tends to be commemorated with parades, cookouts, and other quintessentially American festivities - and well it should be. We mourn those we have lost, but we know that they did not die in vain, and we celebrate the freedom we enjoy as heirs to their sacrifice.
So by all means, enjoy a wonderful weekend with friends, family, and neighbors. I hope you will join me, however, in remembering why this day was set apart, and in memorializing in gratitude those whose sacrifices make possible the liberty we cherish in this great land of ours.