Remembering Our Heroes this Memorial Day

By Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich and Speaker Newt Gingrich

On Memorial Day, we honor the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect and defend America. With courage, selflessness, and bravery, these American heroes fought against the evils of tyranny, radical terrorism, slavery, and religious persecution.

First observed as Decoration Day in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery to pay tribute to the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War, Memorial Day was later declared a national holiday by Congress in 1971. It is a day in which we honor the more than 1 million Americans who have laid down their lives in combat since the founding of our nation.

The first defenders of American freedom were the courageous Continental Army and its leader, General George Washington. Despite being poorly trained and under-equipped, the Continental Army bravely took on the British empire, proving that the idea of America was worth defending and preserving.

But freedom is never guaranteed. For more than two centuries – from the ridges of Gettysburg to the forests of Argonne, and from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Kuwait – American service members have stood on the frontlines of freedom and given their lives to protect and defend the United States of America.

Today, we honor their sacrifice.

As then-Governor Ronald Reagan wisely said at his 1967 gubernatorial inaugural address, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”

This Memorial Day, we express our profound gratitude to the fallen men and women who bravely served in America’s armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.