This past Sunday I was honored to address American Veterans, families, and friends at the dedication of a plaque commemorating them and their service and those who died in service of our country. I was inspired by President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the fact that Election Day is November 8.
Dear Veterans, other Distinguished Guests and Friends. Today we gather to pay tribute to those members of our community who gave their lives in defense of our country. They fought and died on the battlefields of too many wars in defense of our nation and our way of life. We celebrate them and cherish their memories. It is right and proper that we honor their memories. But our words alone are insufficient.
I recall the words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. How can we properly consecrate or hallow the memories of those who died so bravely on our behalf? Mere words today cannot do justice to the sacrifice made. Nothing we can say will add or detract from their actions. But, as President Lincoln shared, it is for us the living to dedicate ourselves to the great task that lay ahead of us; that we resolve these dead shall not have died in vain. For us, this great dedication is actually twofold.
First, we must exercise our sacred privilege two days from today on November 8th and cast our votes for the leaders that will take us forward: President, Senator, Congressman at the national level and the other men and women that will represent us as our elected officials at State and local levels. It is essential for us the living to embrace this most fundamental grounding principle of our great nation and exercise the franchise for which so many have fought and died. But our work is not yet done.
Second, The divisions that exist among our citizens must be healed and closed. To truly do honor to our fallen heroes, the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be accessible to all our citizens; the opportunities to reach that full measure of the American Dream, and institutions dedicated to this goal, shall make a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall remain the strong and enduring light of hope for everyone of us.