content top
Remembering Those Who Gave All

Remembering Those Who Gave All

Today, I had the honor of taking part in the Wakulla County Memorial Day Ceremony.  A large crowd turned out to honor our fallen heroes.  It was my pleasure to deliver this message.

It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle.  It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes in battle. – General Norman Schwarzkopf

General George S Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Thank you for joining me today as we honor the memory of the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure that that our great nation will always remain free.

What is Memorial Day?

First, let’s take a look at what it’s not.

Memorial Day was not created…

  1. To encourage us to gather with our friends and family at our favorite beach.

  2. Memorial Day was not created to reward hard working Americans with a 3 day weekend.

  3. And it certainly was not created, so that we may honor those who have become masters of the BBQ Grill.

  4. Memorial Day is also not a time for us to honor those who still serve or the 40 million veterans who live among us today.

My brothers and sisters who served, deserve our honor and respect every other day of the year, but today is not about us.  We have not earned the right to be honored on Memorial Day. 

This is a special day!

            A time for us to honor those, not only willing to pay the ultimate price of freedom, but who did so, with their very lives, so that we may remain free.  We can never repay that debt, but we can honor their memory and never allow their death to be in vain.

President John F Kennedy said, “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.”

There are more than 2 dozen historical events that claim to be the first Memorial Day.  This tells me that the citizens across our great nation honored our fallen soldiers, even before it became a National Day of Remembrance. 

On May 5, 1868 the first official Memorial day was called Decoration Day.  It was established to decorate the graves of those who died in battle.

Since 1775

                        More than 41 million veterans have served during wartime

                        More than 651 thousand have died in battle


                        Revolutionary War – 4,435

                        War of 1812 – 2,260

                        Civil War – 214,938

                        World War I – 53,402

                        World War II – 291,557

                        Korea – 33,739

                        Vietnam – 47,434

                        Gulf War – 148

                        Global War on Terror – 5,078

Daniel Webster said, 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. 

Thank you for joining me today.  May we always honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice!

Memorial Day 2014

One Response to “Remembering Those Who Gave All”

  1. Lona Wilene Matherne says:

    What a great & touching speech in recognition of those who gave their lives defending our rights and defending our country. Since I know you so well, Commissioner Thomas, I know these words were sincerely spoken from your heart! You make me proud son!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *