Memorial Day 2005
Welcome to our Memorial Day celebration. Let me tell you a bit about the history of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, and was a day to place decorations at the graves of soldiers lost in the civil war. America lost more men in the civil war than in all other wars combined, and it is worth remembering what the war was fought for. The South was bitterly opposed to the election of a man named Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln won, numerous southern States seceded, and went to war. The war was fought for one basic principle—that in a democracy if you lose an election, you do not take up arms, you wait until the next election. That basic principle, for which hundreds of thousands of American boys lost their lives, has kept our nation strong to this day.
Eventually, Memorial Day became a national holiday, day to recognize all the soldiers and sailors who fought, and all too often died for the cause of liberty and freedom. Today at 3 pm, we will pause to remember the 1.2 million American service men and women who died in all of our wars, from the Revolutionary war to the present and who made it possible for us to speak to you today and not worry about the context of our speech. Their sacrifice made it possible for us to worship in the Church, synagogue or mosque of our choice, and made it possible for us to vote for the candidates of our choice.
I know that there are some veterans here today, and I am going to ask all veterans to step forward and raise their hands so that we can acknowledge you and thank you for your service to America.
I want to pay particular attention today to the veterans of World War II, who are still with us. We sometimes forget the immense suffering, the immense sacrifice of those who served in World War II. The Navy and Marines lost 52,000 people in World War II, in battles with long forgotten names like Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Midway, the battle of the Coral sea, and in the battle that won the war in the Pacific, the Battle of Midway, where the Japanese carriers that had attacked Pearl Harbor were sunk and in Europe with the invasions of Sicily and France and the enormous of our men who invaded and captured Germany and put an end forever the thousand year Reich. We lost 413,000 men and women in the war, but that only begins to tell of the losses. Russia lost 29 million men and women. Over 70% of the causalities were civilians. If you were a bomber pilot in the United States Army air corps, you knew that you had 70% chance of never returning. Let us take a moment today, in Memorial Day 2005, to honor all those who served and saved our freedom in World War II.
Now, Memorial Day today is about all wars and all those who sacrificed for us. We have lost two of our finest in the wars that are going on today, in Afghanistan and in Iraq: Evan O’Neill and Marine Lance Cpl. Dimitrios Gavriel. There is a wonderful story in today’s Herald about Cple Gavriel and I commend it to all of you. He was a young man who went to the finest schools, he did not have to serve, he chose to. We join with his family and with the O’Neill family in their grief and I ask you all to pause now to recall them.
Home | Mayor's Office | Departments | Resources | Site Map | Feedback
Office of the Mayor
City of Haverhill, Massachusetts
City Hall, Room 100, 4 Summer Street, Haverhill, MA 01830
Developed by enilsson.