Memorial Day is a time of the year where I do a lot of thinking. What is normally on my mind, is the men and women that gave their lives to defend this country and its beliefs; whether it be the ones who fought during the World Wars or in Korea or Vietnam or the young men and women who were fighting in the Global War on Terror. Sacrifice is also a word that I find floating around in my head today. You can say that sacrifice is merely the loss of something usually for the greater good, but ask a service member and you might get a different answer. Being a Marine, I picked up a few morals along the way: honor, courage and commitment. And I think that it perfectly describes what it takes to truly understand what sacrifice is.
Honor is something every good American feels when they see our colors fly up on a flag pole or when they hear our National Anthem being belted out by one of the best. It’s being proud and upholding just beliefs. Honor is about respect and esteem, something all our fallen military members have endless amounts of in my heart. To the ones who can’t be with us today and have made the sacrifice to keep our honor clean, I say thank you. Courage is something you will only know in the face of danger. Will you be able to do what is needed out of you, while under heavy stress? Will you do what it takes no matter what the cost? It is about pressing on and continuing to push against all odds. Something every man and woman who died for this country so proudly did. Being far away from home fighting takes a lot of courage, and for the ones who couldn’t be here with us today, I say thank you for your sacrifice. Commitment is simple, doing what is needed to be done and getting the job accomplished. Commitment is something we learn early on; stick with it until the end they say. And for the military members who paid the ultimate sacrifice, they saw it to the end. For the ones who fully committed to the country and its beliefs, again I say thank you.
On this Memorial Day, I would like to share this quote from President John F. Kennedy: “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
Today more than ever do these words resonate, because it is the truth. A country is only as strong as its countrymen. And this country is full of brave men and women that are willing to sacrifice everything to keep that true. And that’s why America is still the greatest country. God Bless America.
Tyler Norris was the keybote speaker at the service held on Memorial Day at Winthrop Cemetery.