On May 31, 1982, President Ronald Reagan delivered his Memorial Day speech at Arlington Cemetary...
I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.
Yet we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men [and women], surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.
To quote a very different sentiment, with much the same resonance for me: "Our acts our angels are, for good or ill, the fatal shadows that walk by us still."
And have a Memorial Day, rather than just another day off, today.