A Memorial Day Message
To honor all those who fought and died for our country, I wanted to share a reflection on their sacrifices and the responsibilities we inherit from them.
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A Memorial Day Message
A Memorial Day Wish
Memorial Day marks the official start of summer, and I wanted to wish you and your family an enjoyable holiday weekend. I hope it is the beginning of a wonderful summer!
Above all, however, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance—a tribute to the generations of young men and women who gave their lives to preserve the freedoms that have enriched our families, communities and nation.
To honor all those who fought and died for our country, I wanted to share a reflection on their sacrifices and the responsibilities we inherit from them. Below are excerpts from a Memorial Day commemoration speech given by the great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.; it remains as relevant and touching today as when he first spoke these words more than a century ago.
Here’s wishing you a great summer!
“In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
[An address delivered for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, N.H., before John Sedgwick Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic.]1
Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart.
Every year—in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life—there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year lovers wandering under the apple trees and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier’s grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march—honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.
But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death—of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope and will.