Welcoming remarks at Aberdeen Veterans Park ceremony on the occasion of Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.
Welcome to the great City of Aberdeen, MD.
Aberdeen has a long history, permanently interlinked with the United States Armed Forces– with our nearby Army installation sharing our name, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and our interwoven communities of veterans and civilians-supporting-individuals.
Today, we remember.
James Garfield, former Major General of the Union forces during the Civil War, then Congressman, and future President of the United States spoke at Arlington Cemetery 149 years ago May 30, 1868, and I can’t say it better.
“ I am 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. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept, plighted faith may be broken, and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke: but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”