The Price of Freedom

In his 2023 Memorial Day Proclamation, Governor Glenn Youngkin reminds us that “we are forever indebted to the service members who have died in defense of the United States of America.”

WHEREAS, throughout the history of our great Commonwealth and nation, men and women of our Armed Forces have risked their lives to protect the interests of our country and defend our freedoms; and

WHEREAS, on this Memorial Day, citizens throughout Virginia remember those who have given their lives for their country and comfort the families and friends who have lost loved ones; and

WHEREAS, since World War II, nearly 12,000 Virginians have died in armed conflict, and they are honored at the Virginia War Memorial; and

WHEREAS, we are forever indebted to the service members who have died in defense of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor the courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize May 29, 2023, as MEMORIAL DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.

Proclamation Footer Image

Drawing from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address, the following video 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 in Arlington National Cemetery:

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.

Under one such marker lies a young man — Martin Treptow — who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.

We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, “My Pledge,” he had written these words: “America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”


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