Archive for the ‘Speeches’ Category

Memorial Day speech

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Memorial Day speech in Clear Lake, South Dakota — 31 May 1999

memorial-day-1999
WWII veterans John & Mildred Diekman, with daughters Diane & Lorraine

Memorial Day officially originated with General Order Number Eleven, issued in 1868 by the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. The order designated May 30 as a day to decorate the graves of comrades who died defending their country during “the late rebellion.” General Logan desired an annual observance and he hoped the press would advertise his order. Decoration Day eventually became Memorial Day, a national holiday to remember all who have died in our nation’s service.

The place that most evokes that recognition in me is Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. It truly feels like hallowed ground. From Civil War casualties to an Apache pilot killed in Kosovo several weeks ago, it is the final resting place for 265,000 of those we honor here today. (more…)

Eulogy for John Diekman

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I gave this eulogy at my dad’s funeral in Clear Lake, South Dakota, on September 11, 2003.

In 1920 Herman Diekman moved his wife and four sons from Nebraska to a farm near Gary, South Dakota. He shipped his machinery, cattle and horses, household goods, and dogs by train. The German immigrant was buying into the American dream. But over-mortgaged land and three years of wet weather resulted in his farm being sold on the courthouse steps in 1922. My dad was six years old.

During those wet years, snakes and frogs were everywhere. The four boys liked to catch plump little toads. They’d put the toads in their mouths to feel the pointed toes walking on their tongues.

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Eulogy for Kenneth Diekman

Monday, February 18th, 2008
9/ 12/1999 – celebrating 10th anniversary of liver transplant

Ken Diekman - 12 September 1999

I gave this eulogy at my brother’s funeral in Clear Lake, South Dakota, on Saturday, 30 August 2003.

My first memory of Kenny isn’t actually about Kenny. I don’t remember Mom bringing him home from the hospital. I don’t remember him as a little baby. But I do remember Dad mopping the kitchen floor while Mom was gone. He let us kids slide across the wet linoleum, something Mom never allowed.

Born July 2, 1955, Kenny grew up in the Hidewood Valley and graduated from Clear Lake High School. He bought a new ’75 Chevy Nova, reigned as local foosball champion, and worked at the Gopher Sign Company.

He earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the South Dakota National Guard and planned to celebrate his 25th birthday with a pig roast and keg of beer. Life was good in 1980. (more…)

Navy Retirement

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Retirement - girls

CAPT Diane Diekman, USN — August 18, 2004

Almost 32 years ago I enlisted in the Navy–and wondered if signing away four years of my life was the right decision. But by the time I graduated from boot camp, I knew I’d be a lifer. At my sister’s Navy retirement ceremony in 1991, she said she’d always have a Navy contact because Diane would be in the Navy forever. Well, Kayo, forever has arrived.

I welcome all of you to today’s ceremony here at the Navy Memorial in downtown Washington DC. I’m honored you took the time to attend, and I’m especially honored by the presence of one of my leadership heroes, James Webb. Thank you, Mr. Webb, for agreeing to speak today. (more…)