Happy Memorial Day!
I hope that all of you that are in the United States enjoy the extra day off, the time with family and friends, and the good food and fun.
At the same time, I hope that you take a moment to honor those who are serving, and remember those who are fallen in the fight.
One way to bring this home to children and adults alike is to set a place at your festive table. Plate, utensils, glass, and all. Place a chair at the setting, but let no one be seated in that chair.
That empty chair at your table is a vivid way to remember that some gave all. Some didn't come home to loving arms, to festive occasions. They gave all they had. Their lives.
Perhaps you may not agree with me -- you may think it's too sad. But we've always thought it was a poignant reminder of why we celebrate today.
Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace -- a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation.
The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not 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.
Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
So, to all of my fellow-citizens, happy Memorial Day! Let us never forget -- and heartfelt thanks to all those who serve today!