Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Speech by Rob Fabian

Today, Rob and I spent Memorial Day with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Drake, ND. Rob was invited to give a speech, and we went to the cemetery for the gun salute and laying of the wreath. then we had an enjoyable lunch talking with the vets--comparing notes and swapping stories.

Here's Rob's speech honoring the troops.

Memorial Day Ceremony – Drake ND
Lt Col Robert A. Fabian
DATE: Monday, 25 May 2008, 1000 hrs
EVENT: Memorial Day Ceremony
LOCATION: City Hall, Drake ND
THEME: “Recognizing Those Who Gave Their Lives”

Good morning. I’m honored that you asked me to come back to speak to you again
• And to share this particular day with you all
• Because today is truly a special day across our great Nation
As our President said in his Memorial Day proclamation this year
• Today is the day “we honor the heroes who have laid down their lives in the cause of freedom,
• We “resolve that they will forever be remembered by a grateful nation,”
• And we “pray that our country may always prove worthy of the sacrifices they have made.”
And, at times, the sacrifices have been great indeed …
For more than 230 years, the men and women of our Nation have stood proud and manned the ramparts from which America has guarded its freedom, ideals and values
When it has mattered most, patriots from every corner of our great Nation have taken up the fight
• From Valley Forge to San Juan Hill, and Iwo Jima to Tora Bora
• Men and women in uniform have answered the call to duty with courage and conviction
• And more than 650,000 have paid the eternal price
Every one of those has been a cause for grief
• Every death has devastated families and friends;
• Every death has been mourned by fellow comrades-in-arms on the front lines and at rear bases
• And every death has saddened the American public
While our actions today can never do justice to the sacrifices they have made in our name
• We must honor those who gave their lives that we might live free
• For as Abraham Lincoln once said: “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”
Here in Drake, we join the entire nation and pause with solemn gratitude, deep respect, and unwavering dedication.
• To remember the heroes through the centuries who stood forth for us all
• While the front lines may be different and the equipment may have changed, the fight is still the same: upholding freedom against tyranny
Today, we gratefully remember the guardians who have died defending our freedoms and the American way of life
And that was just their final sacrifice... the greatest among many
• These guardians loved America so much, they spent months and years in foreign lands far away from home and loved ones
• They revered freedom so much, they sacrificed their own in support of a noble cause
• They cherished peace so much, they chose to live as warriors
• And they valued life so much, they were willing to lay theirs down in service to our country
We, as a Nation, honor them, one and all
• And must stand together, to ensure their sacrifices were not in vain
• That the nation that they loved more than life itself remains vibrant and strong
• The land of the free… because of the brave
As President Bush noted in his Memorial Day Proclamation last year: “Our Nation mourns them, and their example of strength and perseverance gives us resolve.”
Today, we are faced with the grim reality of a Global War on Terror
• A war that has claimed more than 4,500 active-duty, Reserve and Guard warriors
• A war that continues to take its toll
A price paid across our nation
• From the cities of the east coast
• To the beaches of the west
• And to every state in between
On this special day of remembrance, we think of Army Major Alan Johnson
• Who was killed by a roadside bomb in January 2007
• Born in Jamestown and raised in Montpelier, he answered his nations call to arms
• At the his memorial service, Major General David Sprynczynatyk (“sprin-suh-NAT-ick”), the North Dakota Adjutant General, said Major Johnson “lived and breathed his service to God, his family and his country”
We remember Army Staff Sergeant David Kuehl (“keel”) of Wahpeton ND,
• Who was killed by a roadside bomb in May 2007 during his second tour of duty in Iraq

And we think of Army Sergeant Travis Van Zoest (“zoost”),
• Who was killed in June 2006 while on a reconnaissance mission in Afghanistan
• His name will be added to the All Veteran’s Memorial in Bismarck later this year
However, while Memorial Day is a time of remembrance, it is not just about grief – not just about our Nation’s loss
• It is also a time for us to remind ourselves that in every generation, brave men and women willingly stand up and take the oath to serve in all branches of the military
Even more significantly, this special day serves to remind us that that price is not yet paid in full
• Liberty to always unfinished business
• And, as Thomas Jefferson wrote over two centuries ago
o The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots
It’s a high price – but our ideals and values – our freedoms – are a treasure beyond all cost

As we honor our fallen comrades this morning, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines stand watch around the world on freedom’s front
• Continuing the tradition of noble and faithful service to our country
As an Airman, I’m proud of what we do on a daily basis
• We fly over 300 sorties a day supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
o And have flown more than a million combat and combat support sorties since September 11th
• Here at home, over 125 Airmen from Minot Air Force Base are currently deployed to the front lines, and hundreds more are preparing to deploy in the months ahead
• As we gather here today, Airmen stand alert buried deep under the North Dakota plains
o Ready to act on a moments notice and unleash nuclear fire in defense of our nation
o Deterring the unthinkable – just as they have for over 40 years

And while we stand ready to rain destruction on our enemies, we also stand ready to offer a hand to those in need – American values in action
• In just the past month, America’s Airmen have delivered 200,000 pounds of relief supplies to China in wake of their recent catastrophic earthquake
• And brought 400,000 tons of relief supplies to Burma
o Easing the incredible suffering arising in the wake of their recent devastating typhoon
Together, the men and women of our Armed Forces follow in a proud tradition -- one handed down by those that served before
On this Memorial Day, we gratefully recognize those who gave their lives to ensure our country remains free
• May we never forget those who have died for love of our great country;
• Never fail to live up to their standard of courage and conviction;
• And never falter in our resolve that the “cause for which they died shall live eternally.”
Thank you!


Gray Rinehart said...

Well done! All the best,

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks, Gray!