Below is the speech I gave on May 30, 2016, at American Legion Post 131 in Valley Springs, South Dakota.
Welcome to today’s ceremony and thank you for being here. This is one of those few years when Memorial Day falls on both the traditional date of May 30th and the last Monday in May. Memorial Day has evolved in the past century and a half, from Decoration Day that honored those who died on the battlefields of the Civil War, to Memorial Day that honors those who died in all wars. It now also includes all deceased veterans and deceased civilian family members and friends. But the main focus is still those who lost their lives in battle.
Today is not for living veterans—we have Veteran’s Day for them. Today is not for active duty members—we have Armed Forces Day for them. Today we remember the millions of Americans who fought and died on battlefields around the world to defend our freedom. (more…)