The following comments were made by Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca at l on Monday, May 28, 2012.
On behalf of my Township Committee colleagues – Kathy Leventhal, Jerry Ryan, Marlon Brownlee and India Larrier – I want to wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day. Thank you to the Maplewood Memorial Post 10120 Veterans of Foreign Wars for sponsoring today’s ceremonies. Thank you also for the flag you presented to us last year which is now flying in front of town hall.
I hope all of you will stay after the program to take part in a community photo honoring Maplewood Township’s 90th birthday. We will assemble here on the steps, so stick around and be part of Maplewood’s history.
Memorial Day is the time we remember those who lost their lives in war, fighting to protect the rights we enjoy today. These fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends - Americans from every walk of life who gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give. Let us be ever mindful of their ultimate sacrifice. They deserve our never-ending gratitude and our promise to cherish forever the ideals and freedoms for which they died.
More than one million service men and women have died in our nation’s wars since the first colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775. We memorialize those who were lost in the battlefields of our times – from Normandy to Manila, Inchon to Khe Sanh, Bagdad to Kandahar and in many other places around the world. We remember their courage, their selflessness and their devotion to duty. They fought so we could live free. Let us never forget the shoulders on which that freedom stands, those who fought and died to protect our liberties and our values.
Today Memorial Day observances like this are happing in communities from coast to coast. As I look out at this great crowd, I am a proud American and a proud Maplewoodian. Our community represents what is right about America. We embrace diversity yet we are one people. Our ability to live together in unity and harmony exemplifies the very ideals of freedom and peace which the nation’s fallen heroes fought and died for on our behalf.
Today we honor their sacrifice but we must also take up the charge to work for peace and justice. Let us leave here today firmly committed to doing our part to end the conflicts and violence that now exist throughout the world. Join me in making sure that our children and grandchildren have a safer and more peaceful world ahead of them.
As we go about the rest of the day, first to the community photo here on the steps, then to the duck race and finally to our backyard barbeques, let us remember the men and women who died for us, believing in the liberties that America promises. Our nation owes them a debt that we can never fully repay. But we will never forget what these heroes have done and what their loved ones have lost to protect our freedom. For this they have our everlasting gratitude.