Officials Share Memorial Day Tributes

Today marks Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday is observed every year on the last Monday of May. Courtesy photo

MEMORIAL DAY News:

President Barack Obama:

This weekend is Memorial Day—a time to pay tribute to all our men and women in uniform who’ve ever given their lives so that we can live in freedom and security. This year, the holiday is especially meaningful. It’s the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan. 

On Monday, at Arlington Cemetery, I’ll join our Gold Star families, veterans, and their loved ones to remember all our fallen heroes, including the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in Afghanistan. And I plan to share a few of their stories.

Growing up in Arizona, Wyatt Martin loved the outdoors. To him, a great day was a day spent fishing. After high school, he enlisted in the Army because he believed that the blessings he enjoyed as an American came with an obligation to give back to his country.

Ramon Morris was born in Jamaica, and as a teenager came to Queens. Like so many proud immigrants, he felt a calling to serve his new country and joined the Army. He fell in love, got engaged, and the thing he wanted most was to make the world safer for his three-year-old daughter.

In their lives, Specialist Wyatt Martin and Sergeant First Class Ramon Morris travelled different paths. But in December, their paths intersected as the final two Americans to give their lives during our combat mission in Afghanistan.

This weekend also reminds us that, around the world, our men and women in uniform continue to serve and risk their lives. In Afghanistan, our troops now have a new mission—training and advising Afghan forces. John Dawson was one of them. From Massachusetts, he loved the Bruins and the Pats. In April, he gave his life as an Army combat medic—the first American to give his life in this new mission. This Memorial Day, we’ll honor Corporal Dawson as well.

Like generations of heroes before them, these Americans gave everything they had—not for glory, not even for gratitude, but for something greater than themselves. We cannot bring them back. Nor can we ease the pain of their families and friends who live with their loss. 

But we are the Americans they died to defend. So what we can do—what we must do—is fulfill our sacred obligations to them, just like they fulfilled theirs to us. We have to honor their memory. We have to care for their families, and our veterans who served with them. And as a nation, we have to remain worthy of their sacrifice—forever committed to the country they loved and the freedom they fought for and died for.

Thank you, have a wonderful weekend, and may God bless our fallen heroes and their families.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:

“Of all American holidays, Memorial Day is the most solemn — it is a day of remembrance for the courageous men and women who risked everything to defend our nation. Their commitment knew no limits, and their bravery knew no bounds. 

“Today we also remember the families who grieve for their loved ones, for sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, who answered the call to serve, and who did not come home. For some, that grief is recent, and hard to bear. For others, it is longer ago, but still enduring and deep. 

“Many of our fellow Americans are still serving overseas, ready to defend our nation’s interests every day. The men and women of our Armed Forces are the treasure of a grateful nation. Their service can never be taken lightly, or taken for granted. 

“We can never fully repay their sacrifice, but we can always strive to be worthy of it. As your U.S. Senator, I will continue to work to ensure that the men and women of our Armed Forces, and our veterans, receive the honor they deserve and the benefits they have earned. 

“On this beautiful Memorial Day, with friends and families, in communities throughout New Mexico and across our nation, we remember the blessings of freedom. We remember those who gave everything to secure that freedom. We mourn their loss, we honor their courage, and we celebrate their memory. They will never be forgotten.”

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

“Memorial Day offers us all a moment to reflect and honor the fallen heroes who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We remember their bravery, celebrate their lives, and embrace the families they’ve left behind. We owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform — answering the call of duty during America’s hour of need to keep us safe.

“We also recognize the extraordinary sacrifices made by our military families who carry the heavy burden of not having their child, partner, sibling, or parent by their side. As our service members return home from their missions, I will do everything I can to ensure they and their families receive the benefits they have earned.

“This occasion is more than just a holiday; it’s a time to reaffirm our commitment to our lost heroes so that their memory and honor live on. Our nation is safer because of their selfless sacrifice. I join New Mexicans in remembering the fallen soldiers, and thank them and their loved ones for the peace and freedom we enjoy every day.”

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján:

“On this hallowed occasion we offer our respect and appreciation for the men and women who gave their lives to fight the forces of tyranny so that we may enjoy the freedoms that are the hallmark of our great democracy.

“Time and again, generation after generation, brave New Mexico men and women have marched into harm’s way, fully aware of the danger that awaits and the sacrifices that may be asked of them. And every time these heroic individuals answered the call of duty to uphold their commitment to their fellow brothers and sisters in arms and their commitment to protect the United States of America.

“Our hearts ache for the men and women we have lost, the prisoners of war and those missing in action, and the families who never had their loved ones return home. By coming together today in communities across the country, we ensure that their sacrifice will never be forgotten and that their service will forever be remembered. This Memorial Day we honor all those who paid the high cost of freedom to make the world a safer place. There can be no greater measure of service or sacrifice.

“As we honor and remember those we lost, we also pay tribute to our veterans who returned home. Sadly, not all were welcomed back with the greeting befitting their service. So to all our veterans who deserved so much more for all that they did, welcome home and thank you.

“President Kennedy said, ‘as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’ As we offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for our veterans, and men and women in uniform, let us ensure that the sincerity of our words is only exceeded by the depth of our deeds. We know that we still have a long way to go to see that we are living up to the promises we’ve made to our veterans. Our veterans have fulfilled their duty. Let us fulfill ours by ensuring they receive the care and benefits they deserve and have earned.”

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez:

“Memorial Day helps us to continue to remember the true cost of freedom.

“It is right and just that we take time to come together in our communities to reflect upon and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our proud nation free.”

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas: 

“On this Memorial Day our family will deeply reflect on the sacrifices of those brave American soldiers who have given their lives for this great nation.

“We are so grateful to the courageous American heroes and their families for their values and sacrifices that have made this country a special place. We shall never forget those who gave their lives to assure the foundation of liberty and justice.”

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly:

“While the end of the school year is traditionally a busy time for educators across New Mexico, we still take time to pause and reflect on the importance of honoring our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and those who gave their lives to protect the rights we enjoy each and every day.

“As professional educators, we know the importance of freedom to our students, their parents, and our communities. We enjoy the freedom to have quality, public education for all of New Mexico’s children.  We enjoy the freedom of speech and pursuit of knowledge, without restriction or oppression, we enjoy the freedom of assembly, and we enjoy the right to speak up against our government when we disagree.

“So often, we are tempted to take all of these freedoms – and so many more – for granted, but it truly is the sacrifice and service of our uniformed American heroes, both past and present, who ensured these freedoms for all Americans, and for future generations, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment to our freedom.”

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