Featured Photo Above: Memorial Day Ceremony, Somers Point, New Jersey. Monday, May 30, 2022. Below: Lt. Col. Frederick Fortuna, U.S. Air Force Reserve was keynote speaker. He reminded us that today’s National Guard and Reserve often see active duty and combat. Also, joint color guard from members of local American Legion, VFW and Amvets posts.
The meaning and purpose of Memorial Day and all ceremonies to remember those who died in America’s wars was best explained by President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863 with these remarks:
Four score and seven years ago* our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
* “Four score and seven years ago” refers to 87 years before 1863, or 1776. In almost every major speech, Abraham Lincoln observed that America was created by the “sentiments” of our Declaration of Independence. According to Lincoln, that document was about far more than “the mere separation of the colonies from the motherland”. It was about embracing the idea that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights”.
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