WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in recognition of Memorial Day 2017, which this year is celebrated on Monday, May 29.
“This weekend I join the nation in recognizing Memorial Day, and more importantly, the men and women this day is meant to memorialize. Next Monday, across the country, countless families will gather with friends to have cookouts, watch parades, and make plans for the summer. And, across the country, families will gather with friends to remember their fallen loved ones, visit gravesites, and honor each other’s sacrifice.
“Those of us participating in parades must remind ourselves why we are there. We must remind ourselves that we are free to visit memorials because of the loved ones that others are visiting in cemeteries. We have the luxury of making plans for our future because of the gallant sacrifices so many have made in the past. In the midst of our holiday weekend, we must not forget the immense gravity of what Memorial Day signifies.
“Throughout our Nation’s history, from its origin in the Revolution, through two World Wars, and up to today’s ongoing military engagements abroad, we have remained free and prosperous because of the men and women who gave their lives for our defense.
“Each of us is here today – free to worship, live, work, speak and protest according to our own consciences – only because of those who saw fire and ran toward it; who heard the footfalls of approaching peril and stood to fight.
“I hope Memorial Day serves as a catalyst for Americans to come together in love and gratitude for those heroic souls. They fought without expectation of fame, glory, or accolade. They fought courageously, and they did so for us.
“I also hope that we honor Memorial Day this year in a way that is befitting of their sacrifice: by committing ourselves to the causes for which they died, namely: freedom of speech, of religion, of the press; equality for all, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation; and for democracy and fidelity to the belief that every person has the right to vote and help shape this Nation, unabridged and unencumbered, and that this right is sacrosanct.
“These principles are the fabric with which this country was spun. If we hold fast to them – if we vow to defend them from corruption and assault, whether foreign or domestic – we will honor our fallen soldiers with something far greater than engraved statues or walls. We will be living monuments to their lives, and to the great American ideals for which they died.
“On this Memorial Day, I say a special prayer for the families in Maryland and those across the country who have lost loved ones in the defense of these United States. I thank all the men and women who are bravely serving our Nation today. And most of all, I look forward to when they make a safe return home, and can spend future Memorial Days in the warm embrace of their family and friends.”