BRANDON, Miss. (WJTV) – Congressman Michael Guest spoke at a Memorial Day service to honor the men and women who have passed away in defense of the United States. The service was held at the Rankin County Memorial Statue outside the Rankin County Courthouse.
Congressman Guest joined Colonel Mike Smith of the U.S. National Guard in laying a wreath in honor of our fallen servicemen and women. A memorial volley was conducted by the 113th Military Police Company of the Mississippi National Guard and “Taps” was played by the Vietnam Vets of America.
Congressman Guest delivered the following speech:
On November 19, 1863, the President addressed a war-torn nation and remind our county that freedom is not free, that freedom comes with a price, freedom requires sacrifice, that at times sacrifice includes the loss of our great warriors who died on the field of battle. That these warriors have not died in vain – but instead, because of their sacrifice, this nation, one nation under God, will have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people will not perish from the earth.
Those words spoken by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania still hold true today.
Today is a day to remember, and throughout this great nation we are joining those holding solemn ceremonies to acknowledge the great debt we owe to our fallen soldiers.
Today, we gather to remember that sacrifice, and to pay tribute to those men and women who gave their lives in defense of our nation and to protect the rights and liberties we enjoy every day.
We remember the farmers who lost their lives at the Battle of Concord as we began our fight for independence; the brothers who fought against one another in the greatest division and darkest time in our nation’s history, the Civil War; the fathers who sacrificed their lives in the trenches of World War 1 and their sons who returned to dismantle the greatest evil the modern world has ever known in Nazi Germany and who fought island by island in the Pacific to end the Second Great War; the young men who fought valiantly in Korea and Vietnam; and the soldiers who paid the ultimate price in our fight to rid the world of terrorism.
Scripture tells us, greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for another. Today we honor those that have laid down their lives for this great nation. We honor the 19,000 young Americans who died in the Battle of the Bulge; the 13,000 who gave their lives taking Okinawa and the 6,800 who died taking Iwo Jima; the 36,000 Americans who laid down their lives in Korea; the 58,000 names inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial; the almost 7,000 young Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, we pay tribute the more than 1,200,000 American lives that have been lost in battle since the birth of our nation, including the 84 names engraved on this monument here in front of the Rankin County Courthouse.
We can never repay the debt we owe them, but we can always remember and remain committed to the values they fought and died for. We can remain true to our great country and its Constitution; we can continue to ensure our nation’s military remains strong; and that we always support the members of our armed forces and veterans.
May God bless each and every one of you here today for keeping the memory of our fallen warriors alive, and may God continue to bestow his blessings on the United States of America.Rep. Michael Guest, R-MS