Memorial Day Remarks – Mayor Scott W. Lang
City Hall Plaza
May 28, 2007
It has been 139 years since General Order Number 11 was promulgated designating May 30, 1868 as a day for “the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance, no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.” General Order No. 11, Issued by General John Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.
As every year since 1868, today, May 28, 2007, we in New Bedford honor our war dead, every man and woman who responded to the call of the colors and gave their life to protect our way of life. Today we honor their memories and we honor their families. There have been 3,775 servicemen and women who have been killed in the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Massachusetts, 70 men and women have lost their lives. Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara, Army Specialist Peter G. Enos, Marine Lance Corporal Patrick J. Gallagher, and Marine Lance Corporal Michael L. Ford, have all been killed in action. Please pray for all of our lost military heroes and their families, our soldiers missing in action, our prisoners of war from all wars, and our country.
Today, in time of war, we honor the living who serve our country in distance places overseas and here in our country. We thank them and their families for the great sacrifices they make for us and our families each day. We pray that they return safely and that they live full lives.
We honor those who have been wounded and maimed and commit that they will receive the care and compassion that we would want for our sons and daughters.
We must also take this day, in between parades, ceremonies and family gatherings, to commit to a national policy and covenant which will unquestionably support our fighting men and women at the war theatres and here at home.
For their sacrifice, we must commit to provide them with the finest military and protective equipment known to the world. We must commit to the finest medical and rehabilitative care when wounded.
We must commit to their full support when re-entering our communities in the form of job training and placement, and appropriate social services and benefits. We must commit to fully support their families and all dependents.
We must also begin to share the sacrifice of serving our country. Each day we must do an act or deed which furthers the cause of the members of the armed services.
In closing, this Memorial Day, let us commit to support those who are acting on our behalf.