Though small in size, the American Legion grotto outside McLean High School spans the globe by virtue of five stone plaques which commemorate graduates “Who Have Given Their Lives in the Line of Duty for Our Country” in the War on Terror, the Vietnam War, the Korean Conflict, and World War II.
In this stirring video, Ronald Reagan lauds the “will and moral courage of free men and women” who are now memorialized with “simple white markers” etched with crosses or Stars of David:
“Each one of those markers is a monument to the kinds of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.”
Since the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War, Americans have answered the call to duty and given their lives in service to our Nation and its sacred founding ideals. As we pay tribute to the lives and legacies of these patriots on Memorial Day, we also remember that they sacrificed to create a better, more peaceful future.
Whether on the battlefields of Bunker Hill, on the beaches of Normandy, in the jungles of Vietnam, or in the mountains and deserts of the Middle East, brave Americans of every generation have given their last full measure of devotion in defense of our country, our liberty, and our founding ideals.