By Auburn Mayor Kevin Hanley
Memorial Day, May 28 2012
New Auburn Cemetery

149 years ago, President Lincoln dedicated a portion of the battlefield at Gettysburg as a final resting place for those who “gave their lives that the nation might live.

President Lincoln challenged all future generations of Americans to remember the honored dead and to rededicate ourselves to ensuring “that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

On Memorial Day, as we look at the names of the men and women carved into the Auburn Area War Memorial, we honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country during America’s conflicts since 1917.

In the bloody 20th and 21st centuries, as evil men attempt to enslave their fellow men, a strong and freedom-loving America has been called upon to make large sacrifices to protect the dignity and freedom of man.

When our nation called, young men and women from every hamlet, village, and city became soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen and coast guardsmen to protect their families, friends and the future of a nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

They fought and died in the muddy trenches of the Argonne, the jungles of Guadalcanal, the beaches of Normandy, hedgerow to hedgerow, over the skies of Germany, on the frozen Chosin Reservoir, on the Mekong Delta, at Fallujah, on a thousand mountaintops, in oceans deep and deserts wide.

They fought and died that the nation might live.

We also honor, support and pray for our wounded warriors and the Gold Star Families.

On May 5, 1868, John Logan, the Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order 11, in which he said, “let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

We once again make this pledge today.

In war, sacrifice is uneven.

The wounded warrior and the Gold Star Families have made a much greater sacrifice than other Americans and this sacrifice will last their entire lives.

As Lincoln noted at Gettysburg, we the living have only a limited, a poor power to truly honor those who sacrifice for the nation in war.

We humbly acknowledge that we cannot affect a perfect justice here on this earthly city, a justice that is only possible in the City of God.

But here today we can honor, support and pray for our wounded warriors and the Gold Star Families.

We can keep our faith that the fallen are in the gentle hands of a just God.

We can honor, support and pray for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are stand as sentinels, ready to defend our freedom every hour of every day.

We take consolation:

[blockQuote position=”center”]There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens;
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time for war and a time for peace.[/blockQuote]

Dear Lord, as the Auburn community gathers together on this Memorial Day, we pray, bring us a time of peace.

Thank you.