As Americans, we have an abundance of blessings—from freedom and liberty to the limitless opportunity we have to pursue our dreams in the comfort and security of a land touched by the very hand of God. America has been blessed with bountiful resources from which we can provide for and raise our families in peace and safety. It is obvious then that we have so much to be thankful for, just to be citizens of this blessed country. It is also obvious that each American citizen has a responsibility of not allowing themselves to become complacent and to take these blessings for granted. It is so easy to get lost in the shuffle of our day-to-day activities and to forget the numerous blessings we enjoy. A holiday like Memorial Day serves to remind us that we should stop to count those blessings and pause to remember and honor all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country to help ensure that our way of life continues.
I frequently think of a quote from the only Missourian to serve our nation as president, Harry S. Truman: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” Certainly we must never forget and we must never cease to be thankful for the heroes with which our nation has been privileged to call her own, and they are many.
June 6 of this year is the 71st anniversary of D-Day. This was the largest invasion ever attempted when 200,000 Americans stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the final push to defeat Nazi Germany. D-Day marked the turning point of ending the war in Europe, yet, sadly, six thousand American lives were lost in just a matter of hours on that day alone. Every year since the invasion, France has held a four-day celebration to honor America’s sacrifice that liberated their nation. Leaders of other European nations join France to acknowledge America’s efforts.
Very much in the news today are questions and discussions about the decision made by then President Truman to use the atomic bomb in order to bring a final end to WW II. That action saved many lives on both sides, as U.S. forces were mounting for an invasion of the Japanese mainland. History has shown that Truman’s decision was indeed the right one and the result brought about the intended purpose, a swift end to the war in the Pacific.
Every day going forward, may we always remember the sacrifices made by countless men and women. May we always give thanks for our nation and for those willing to defend her. To all those who have served or are serving, and to all those who gave their lives, we say Thank You. May God bless all of you and may God bless America.