Powerful Words for Memorial Day
On May 30 (Memorial Day), 1905, Senator Joseph Foraker gave a speech at Arlington National Cemetery reflecting on the “character and results” of the Civil War.
Below, we share the closing, still so appropriate for the day we set aside to honor those who have died in the service of their country. The full speech can be found at the Library of Congress American Memory site.
Only the shortcomings of ourselves, or of those who are to come after us, can bring their work to naught. Our presence here to-day is our pledge that it shall not fail through fault of ours, for we have come, not only to strew flowers on their graves, recount their deeds, extol their virtues, and pay tribute to their memory, but also that we may study the lessons they taught, and by these sacred and beautiful ceremonies consecrate ourselves anew to the great duty of perpetuating what they preserved. May God give us wisdom and courage to do our duty as well as they did theirs. If so, the Union they saved and the institutions they perfected will endure for long ages to come, and with passing years bear ever-increasing blessings to humanity.
Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise host WETA’s annual National Memorial Day Concert in tribute to America’s military personnel. Slated performers include Trace Adkins, Natalie Cole, Daughtry, tenor Russell Watson and the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Jack Everly. The broadcast premieres on Sunday, May 27, at 8:00 p.m. and repeats Sunday at 10:00 p.m. and Monday, May 28, at 4:30 p.m.