May 26, 2008

The Veterans War Memorial of Texas

The Veterans War Memorial of Texas located in McAllen, Texas honors 1.4 million Americans killed in all the wars and conflicts of this Nation. Centered around the Memorial are five war sites: WWI, WWII Korea, Vietnam and All Wars.

I was honored at the request of Colonel Frank Plummer to announce and give dedicatory remarks surrounding the symbolism and meaning contained in the two new black granite monuments erected at the memorial site. These monuments will carry the image and story of the servicemen (31) from the Valley who have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan. The two recent additions join monuments containing the names of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in WWII, Korean and the Vietnam wars.

My short remarks which followed the keynote by Major Ivan Melendez where as follows:

Memorial Day Remarks At The Veterans War Memorial
May 26, 2008
McAllen, Texas

I am honored to have been asked to announce and give some dedicatory remarks to the two newest monuments erected on these memorial grounds.

Having heard the compelling remarks of Major Melendez I am reminded of that truth -- that the strength of a free nation lies in the commitment of its people to stand and defend these rights of freedom so hard earned over the many years with the sacrifices of its sons and daughters. Today, this community pauses to honor and revere our warriors and our commitment.

It is therefore fitting and proper to announce and dedicate these two new black granite walls to our fallen heroes. Each wall will contain the etched photos and history of the soldiers from our community killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

These monuments are an addition to those monuments on this site containing the names of our loved ones lost in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. These new walls will be in the "all wars" section currently under construction.

This project symbolizes the love of a grateful community and nation, to those that gave their lives and to their loving families. This community takes this step always remembering the sentiment stated by Lincoln at Gettysburg:

"It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."

That "birth of freedom" of which he spoke so many years ago is advanced today by our collective remembrance of the sacrifice, made by our honored dead and their families, for our country and the principles for which it stands.

To the families of our heroes, on behalf of a grateful community ... we remember your, and their sacrifice, and give thanks.

May God bless.

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