Before we pack up the grill, beach towels, and bathing suits for a relaxing Memorial Day weekend with family and friends, let us take a moment to remember and to honor the men and women who have served and have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today – to remind us that freedom isn’t free. Below are 20 Memorial Day quotes from some of the greatest minds:
1. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
2. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
3. “Memorial Day this year is especially important as we are reminded almost daily of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the armed services make to defend our way of life.”
– Robin Hayes
4. “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers and woods, it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.”
– George William Curtis
5. “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”
– President Harry S. Truman
6. “On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!”
– Thomas William Parsons
7. “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.”
– Minot J. Savage
8. “The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.”
– George McGovern
9. “Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.”
– Daniel Webster
10. “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”
– Benjamin Disraeli
11. “I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.”
– President Ronald Reagan
12. And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
– Lee Greenwood
13. “Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays … The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.”
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich
14. They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast, and their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
15. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
– President John F. Kennedy
16. I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.
– Benjamin Harrison
17. They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.
– Henry Ward Beecher
18. We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.
– Francis A. Walker
19. “With the tears a Land hath shed. Their graves should ever be green.”
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich
20. “On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live.”
– Eric Burdon
Photo credit: D.H. Parks