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Freedom And Justice Essay

3231 words - 13 pages

Freedom and Justice2011 Air Force Public Affairs Agency Speech SeriesMemorial Day 2011(Note to narrator: If you have the capability to play music at your event, "Taps" is appropriate. Download the .mp3 audio file from the USAF Band Web site)~~~~~~~~~~~~Good (afternoon, evening) ladies and gentlemen, friends, families and veterans - and welcome.HISTORYToday (Memorial Day) is a bittersweet day as we pause to share our time, stories and memories of America's military heroes with each other and to recognize in perpetuity the names and faces of our Fallen - our Airmen - and those of America's Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and all who have carried the shield in America's wars and paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great Nation.Decoration Day, as this day was first called, is a day of reverence, remembrance and celebration for all Americans who died in our Nation's wars. Decoration Day originated May 5th, 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, when Major General John Logan, the head of a veterans organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30th as the day to cherish "the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes."1The first major observance of Decoration Day was held that same year at Arlington National Cemetery. After speeches from dignitaries, children from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic made their way through the cemetery, laying flowers and placing American flags on the graves of the war dead.2 It wasn't until 1888 that Decoration Day was recognized as a federal holiday.3 Although the term "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, it did not become more common until after World War II.4 Over the years, but not until after World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars.5 Memorial Day was declared the official name by Federal law in 1967, and in 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day will be observed on the last Monday in May.6As a Nation, we have fought many wars before--and since the Civil War-- to include the American Revolution, World Wars I and II; Korean; Vietnam; the Persian Gulf and up to today's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the years, America's military forces have built a tradition of honorable and faithful service to our Nation.JUSTICE HAS BEEN DONEIn his introduction to the 2010 National Security Strategy, President Barack Obama wrote,"For nearly a decade, our Nation has been at war with a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Even as we end one war in Iraq, our military has been called upon to renew our focus on Afghanistan as part of a commitment to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa'ida and its affiliates. This is part of a broad, multinational effort that is right and just, and we will be unwavering in our commitment to the security of our people, allies, and partners. Moreover, as we face multiple threats - from nations,...

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