Actually, I am writing this column on Memorial Day. I realize that many of our readers will not be reading this piece until after the holiday has passed. But then, Memorial Day can be in our thoughts nearly everyday. We remember the valiant and noble sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. We remember the words of Ronald Reagan when he said "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." These words of Ronald Reagan are well worth remembering, and we will not forget.

Many in our Community and in our Country have stood firm on behalf of freedom and liberty. We will not forget on this Memorial Day or any day, the valiant sacrifice of those men and women who gave the supreme sacrifice for their Country. They are indeed a most honorable part of exceptionalism in America.

We pay grateful tribute to our American veterans and to all of our current armed service and civilian personnel who are in the valiant service of our Country. The story of America has been written by the selfless and noble deeds of hardworking and dedicated men and women dedicated to liberty and justice in a free society. Our American Veterans and current Service and Non-uniformed Personnel are truly endemic of that ranking. We extol them for their dedication to our homeland and liberty. Their noble service is endemic of American Exceptionalism.

Today, the United States stand as a beacon of hope for all humanity, because our nationís experiment as a republic has been guarded and ennobled by these dedicated men and women of yesterday and today.

Often, we take for granted the freedoms we enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. This is a time to remember. For this is a national debt that can only be truly repaid by individual Americans. By honoring the nation's war dead, we preserve their memory and thus memorialize their service and sacrifice.

Over the course of our history, some 42 million Americans have served--and more than one million have given the supreme sacrifice--so that we and future generations of Americans might live in freedom. We are the beneficiaries of their courage, their sacrifice and their dedication, and so are countless of freedom loving people around the world.

Currently and in the past century alone, through two world wars and the long, tense struggles of the Cold War, and on the front lines of conflict and battle, our brave men and women in uniform and out of uniform have risked their lives. They risked all they had to protect U.S. interests, assist our allies, promote peace, and advance freedom. They fought our enemies on foreign shores, at sea and in the air to preserve freedom. They had no second thoughts as to what had to be done. Ronald Reagan said it well, "No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

President Kennedy once said, "Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to untiring effort, to continual sacrifice and to the willingness, if necessary, to die in its defense." We give thanks to these brave men and women and current members of our Armed Forces and willing civilians for their valiant dedication. Whether serving on bases and in ports at home or deployed across the globe, they have endured hardship and danger to protect our Nation and to assist freedom loving people around the world. Their deeds of commitment and valor bind us in our past, inspire us in the present, and strengthen us to meet the challenges of the future. They were and are truly faithful to their Country and an inspiration WE WILL NOT FORGET. As we reflect on these men and women of virtue and courage, we say "Thank you from a grateful nation" and, as a former US Marine: "Semper Fidelis."