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Veterans Memorial Day Celebration - Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

May 27, 2017

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you for joining us this day as we remember those who made the supreme sacrifice and died in the service of our nation.

Speaking in 1868 at Arlington Memorial Cemetery at the first instance of “Decoration Day” then Congressman James Garfield, a veteran of the Civil War and later the 20th President of the United States, said that he felt “oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.”  Almost 150 years later we still feel the solemnity of the occasion – remembering all those who have laid down their lives defending the freedoms that we so cherish.  And it is only fitting that our hearts be heavy as we remember the bright lights that were extinguished, and the potential of tremendous futures that came to an end with the precious loss of life.

But we must not allow ourselves the comfort of silence because we owe it to their memories, and to their families, to ensure that they did not die in vain.  We must honor them with actions that continue the journey towards the vision of a nation for which they made the supreme sacrifice.  Through generations patriots have given up their lives in service of a set of ideals that characterize our nation and today and in the days after we need to also celebrate that strength of vision, and that unique pride in a nation that stands as a beacon for the rest of the world.  As we bow our heads to those who gave their lives so that the rest of us could live and enjoy the freedoms we take for granted we have a responsibility to both look back in deep gratitude and to look forward towards the same vision that they died defending.

Our sons and daughters continue to serve with dignity and determination not just on American soil but across the globe on mountains and in deserts, across the oceans and seas and in the skies.  They follow generations who have served before them with courage and commitment to ensure the safety of security of all of us, largely for people who they have never met but who share in a common dream represented by our flag.

Memorial day provides us not just the opportunity to remember and honor those who gave their all but to also celebrate their legacy and those who follow in the path that they have laid in defending our nation and its ideals.  UTA is proud of its veterans and the families of those who served and continue to serve our nation with honor and dedication.  We continue to enhance the resources made available to them and I’m pleased to introduce James Kumm, combat veteran and seasoned higher education administrator, as the Executive Director for Veterans Programs.  This newly created position that reports to my office will provide leadership and coordination for all veterans programs on campus and serve as a resource for all veterans and their families.  James could you please raise your hand so that people get to know you.

I am inspired each day by our men and women in uniform, and the countless others who join with them in defending our borders and the deals that we so dearly cherish. They do this with a tremendous sense of dedication and represent the very best that our nation has to offer.  So as we remember the fallen let us also resolve to show that we will not just remember them on this one day but that we will always stand to honor and celebrate their sense of purpose and character and of those who follow in their footsteps.  Let us this day and every day after renew and rededicate ourselves to the true founding ideals of our nation, the freedoms it represents, the soaring vision that it lays forth as a beacon across the world and the responsibilities we share in doing our part to never let those ideals fade or be forgotten

May God bless our nation and shed his grace on our fallen, our veterans, and their families and help us always live lives that honor their supreme sacrifice.

Thank you.