The remarks from Rye Mayor Doug French from Monday's Memorial Day ceremony on the Rye village green follow.
CITY OF RYE
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY 5/28/12
Mayor Douglas French
Good morning and thank you Commander Szczerba.
To the members of American Legion Rye Post 128, veterans and their families — as Mayor, there are many ceremonies that I am invited to, but few are more profound to me than to stand here with the veterans and heroes of Rye. There is no praise that can match the magnitude of your service and sacrifice – a sacrifice that not only bonds veterans, but ultimately bonds us all as Americans.
Thanks to each of one of you on the green who are here today to be part of this ceremony. It says a lot that you are here. And look around, this is a full reflection of our community – as we stand together as one Community, one City and one Country to pause, mourn and reflect. I am particularly pleased to see so many from our youngest generation here – the boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, brownies, and daisies. I come from a generation where Memorial Day was about looking back – and remembering wars long ago in the past. But now we see a circle of life that connects our generations with the wars of today and the threats of tomorrow.
Over 40 million have answered the call to serve in our history. And more than 1 Million men and woman have died in defense of their country. Behind each soldier is a family and a story, an American story that defines America. Most were in the prime of their lives – husbands, sons, fathers, wives, daughters, and mothers. The American Legion has identified four pillars as to why Americans answer their nation’s call – even to the point of giving the last full measure of devotion. They do it to keep America safe. They do it for their fellow comrades – fighting by their side. They do it for American core values. They do it for their children – so they can grow up in a strong and free America. It is the last pillar, the children, that we continue the spirit of Memorial Day each and every day and show our support in whatever way we can for the fallen and the wounded.
Memorial Day is a time to renew our dedication. The way to honor the fallen is to challenge the living. In the words of George Washington – “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.” In return, they have put their faith in us – that we continue to protect the freedoms they fought for. Let’s continue to stand with them as they stand up for us. Today, let’s deliver a renewed commitment to those individuals and families who have made a commitment to America. Thank you.