It’s so wonderful to be with you today for the annual Memorial Day Observance, to honor and remember our fallen heroes. I would like to thank Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, its Ladies Auxiliary, members of the American Legion Post 300, its Ladies Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion, for inviting me to say a few words today.
Last May, for the first time in memory, we were unable to gather for this very special holiday. The world faced a common enemy that disrupted our way of life for over a year – the COVID-19 pandemic. I know many in our community have suffered untold heartache and trials. As more than 13,000 West Chicagoans have now been vaccinated, we appear to be turning a corner. Nonetheless, we remain cautious and choose our entrance back to normalcy at our own comfort level and pace.
It is significant that we have chosen to stand here today, at one of the first public gatherings since the easing of restrictions. That speaks volumes about what this day means to you and to me. It brings us together in solidarity for the deep respect and gratitude we feel for the millions of service men and women over the course of our history who answered the call of duty, and laid down their lives for us.
The husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who put aside their own hopes and dreams for the future, because they believed in the sacred tenet of a simple, yet profound document on which our freedom is based. The unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness given to all humans by their creator forms the basis of our democracy. They believed so strongly in those freedoms that they were willing to go to war and die for them.
I stand here with you today, deeply grateful for this moment, to be able to honor generations of beloved family members, friends, and neighbors who have given their lives in the name of our freedom.
The hardship of these past many months has reminded us of the things that are most important in this life – faith, family, and country. Let us never forget the men and women who fought in wars near and far, to secure our freedom to enjoy the things we hold most dear.
May God bless them, may God bless West Chicago, and may God bless the United States of America, the greatest country on earth thanks to their sacrifice.