Darryl’s Memorial Day Speech

Memorial-Day-2014

I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at the Anderson Township, Ohio Memorial Day Observance.  Here’s the text of the speech.

I’M HONORED TO BE HERE ON THIS IMPORTANT DAY, ONE THAT IS EASILY MINIMIZED BY A WEEKEND FILLED WITH STORE SALES, COOKOUTS AND OTHER EVENTS. WE’RE HERE TODAY TO HONOR OUR SERVICE MEMBERS AND TO REMEMBER THE SACRIFICES THEY HAVE MADE IN HONOR OF DUTY AND COUNTRY.

WE’RE HERE TODAY TO HONOR HEROES, TO REMEMBER THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS, THEIR COURAGE…THEIR DEDICATION AND TO COLLECTIVELY SAY THANK YOU.

THINKING OF THE HEROES WHO JOIN US IN THIS GROUP TODAY…AND THOSE WHO ARE HERE IN SPIRIT…I CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL INSPIRED.

WE GATHER TODAY WITH GREAT MEN AND WOMEN. WE GATHER WITH PATRIOTS…AND THE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED.

THE SERVICE MEMBERS WE HONOR TODAY CAME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. BOTH RICH AND POOR. BUT…THEY ALL SHARED SEVERAL FUNDAMENTAL QUALITIES. COURAGE. PRIDE. DETERMINATION. INTEGRITY. DEDICATION. THESE ARE THE QUALITIES NEEDED TO SERVE A CAUSE LARGER THAN ONE’S SELF.

MANY OF THEM NEVER ASKED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES AND TRAVEL TO FAR AWAY COUNTRIES. MANY DIDN’T VOLUNTEER. THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WERE CALLED TO SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER.

THESE WERE ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO RESPONDED IN EXTRAORDINARY WAYS. WHEN NEEDED, THEY STOOD TALL BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO PROTECT AMERICA…A COUNTRY THAT GAVE THEM SO MUCH.

BRAVE SOLDIERS LIKE PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JAMES M. MILLER IV. SOME HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE IS.

ON BEECHMONT AVENUE THERE ARE BROWN SIGNS DESIGNATING A PORTION OF THE ROAD AS THE “JAMES M. MILLER IV HIGHWAY.” I’D GUESS SOME HAVE NEVER QUESTIONED WHO JAMES MILLER WAS.

MILLER GRADUATED FROM ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL IN 2001, JUST MONTHS BEFORE THE TERROIST ATTACKS IN NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON. MILLER JOINED THE ARMY AND WAS TRAINED AS A MEDIC. FIRST…HE WAS ASSIGNED TO A BASE IN KOREA. LATER HE WAS SENT TO IRAQ…WHERE HE WAS KILLED BY AN I.E.D. ON JANUARY 30, 2005. THE LAST CONTACT HE HAD WITH HIS FAMILY WAS A WEEK EARLIER WHEN HE TOLD HIS FATHER “HE REALLY BELIEVED IN HIS MISSION” AND “ENJOYED WHAT HE WAS DOING.”

IN 2012, THE STATE OF OHIO NAMED A SECTION OF BEECHMONT AVENUE AFTER MILLER. LITTLE WAS SAID IN THE LOCAL PAPER. LITTLE WAS SAID ON LOCAL TV. AND I WILL ADMIT LITTLE WAS SAID ON LOCAL RADIO.

THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE THOSE BROWN SIGNS ON BEECHMONT, TAKE A MOMENT AND THINK ABOUT OUR NATIVE SON…OUR NEIGHBOR FROM ANDERSON.

MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, MANY FROM RIGHT HERE IN ANDERSON TOWNSHIP AND THE TRI-STATE HAVE FOUGHT AND DIED TO DEFEND OUR FREEDOMS AND WAY OF LIFE. EVEN TODAY, AS TROOPS ARE PUT IN DANGER, OTHERS COME FORWARD TO SERVE. THEY FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRAVE SOLDIERS LIKE JAMES MILLER.

MEMORIAL DAY IS A DAY TO REFLECT, HONOR AND OBSERVE. IT’S A DAY TO SHOW RESPECT TO SOLDIERS LIKE MILLER, WHO HAVE DIED IN WARS.

IT’S NOT A DAY TO “CELEBRATE” AS WE READ IN NEWSPAPER ADS TEMPTING US TO BUY A NEW CAR.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF HOW MEMORIAL DAY…OR DECORATION DAY AS IT WAS ORGINALLY CALLED… BEGAN. ONE STORY IS THAT FAMILIES GRIEVING OVER THE LOSS OF THEIR LOVED ONES WHO FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR BEGAN DECORATING THE GRAVES OF SOLDIERS WITH FLOWERS.

IN THAT SMALL MISSISSIPPI TOWN, PEOPLE DECORATED THE GRAVES OF BOTH CONFEDERATE AND UNION SOLDIERS. THEY WANTED TO SHOW RESPECT TO ALL FAMILIES OF THE WAR DEAD, INCLUDING THOSE OF THE NORTH. THEIR HOPE WAS SOMEDAY THOSE IN THE NORTH WOULD DO THE SAME FOR SOUTHERN FAMILIES.

THESE INFORMAL HONORS LED TO THE FIRST FORMAL OBSERVANCE, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK THE FIRST WEEKEND OF MAY IN 1866.

IN THE DECADES SINCE…SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN AWARDED MEDALS. THEIR NAMES HAVE BEEN PLACED ON MONUMENTS AND BUILDINGS. ROADS SUCH AS BEECHMONT AVENUE HAVE BEEN RENAMED AFTER SOLDIERS LIKE JAMES MILLER. WE HONOR THEM IN MANY WAYS FOR THEIR BRAVERY. BUT NOTHING WILL EVER EASE THE PAIN OF A FALLEN SERVICE MEMBER’S FAMILY. NO MEDAL OR BUILDING OR ROAD CAN EVER COMFORT THE FAMILIES THESE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN LEFT BEHIND.

THIS IS WHY PEOPLE TODAY ARE GATHERING IN COMMUNITIES TO REMEMBER, TO HONOR AND TO PAY GRATITUDE TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED OUR COUNTRY. OUR GATHERING TODAY IN ANDERSON TOWNSHIP IS SMALL, BUT IT’S OUR SMALL WAY TO HONOR THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES SO WE CAN LIVE IN FREEDOM.

YOUR PRESENCE HERE TODAY IS A TRIBUTE TO THOSE LOST TROOPS AND THEIR FAMILIES. IT IS A SMALL WAY TO SAY WE REMEMBER. A SMALL WAY TO SAY THANK YOU.

WE MUST REMEMBER TO OBSERVE AND NOT ALLOW THE OTHER DISTRACTIONS OF MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TO OVERSHADOW THIS DAY’S TRUE MEANING. WE OWE IT TO THE FAMILIES.

I’D LIKE TO ASK THE SERVICE MEMBERS AND VETERANS TO STAND.

(PAUSE)

THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THE CALL TO DUTY.

GOD BLESS YOU.

GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILIES.

GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS.

  1 comment for “Darryl’s Memorial Day Speech

  1. Hans von Balkovsky
    May 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Since you mention Iraq, and had previously commented re talk radio:

    “Gabe Hobbs, the talented radio consultant and friend, recently said the only formats left on AM radio are religion, sports and conservative talk. He’s saying a lack of variety and innovation is killing AM radio and I’ll add killing talk radio, just as a lack of innovation is killing Red Lobster.”

    One of the keynotes, tipoffs in the proper?… demise of talk radio occured when Clear Channel programmers encouraged “conservative” talk jocks usage as mere government propagandists, repeating the distortions of the government and military leaders from Iraq about the nature, progress and assumed justice of the Iraq War.

    Big media “conservative” talk radio showed then, it, at least had clearly outlived its ethical usefulness, whatever the capitalist value of the publicity stunt. If talk radio can propagandize for the government about matters of mass loss of life and limb, US troops and Iraqi innocents….it has outlived its value.

    A radio parallel, had it been in existence then, would have had the Vietnam War’s version of Mike McConnell
    and the grouping of his other CC fellows from other American cities sent to Saigon to repeat without question the lies of the government & Col. Westmoreland about the progress and the justice of the Vietnam War from Saigon as they did from Iraq’s capital.

    Freedom and “our way of life” was not at stake in either place.Saddam had no WMDS (as Pat Buchanan and Scott Ritter had already proven before the war) and the Domino Theory, wherein if we didn’t fight em in Vietnam we’d be fighting them in Los Angeles didn’t happen.

    And the post war public apology of Bll Cunningham doesn’t qualify as an “innovation” which re-establishes
    talk radio’s worth. As we see here, the Iraq War is still being justified as a war for “freedom.”

    http://www.ivaw.org

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