The following is Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca's remarks on Memorial Day, 2016.
On behalf of my colleagues on the Maplewood Township Committee – Nancy Adams, Marlon Brownlee, India Larrier and Greg Lembrich – I wish you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.
Thank you Maplewood Memorial Post 10120 Veterans of Foreign Wars for sponsoring today’s memorial service. Because of your efforts, we will always remember the shoulders on which we stand, those who fought and died to protect our freedoms.
On Memorial Day we honor the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and wives, husbands and partners who bravely paid the ultimate price so we could live in a free society. We will never know what they would have attained had they lived but we do know that their personal sacrifices allow us to live our lives to the fullest.
We also remember the families of the fallen. Long after the fighting stops, a child is without a parent, a man or woman without a life partner, and a parent without a son or daughter. You too have our everlasting gratitude.
Today is a time of remembrance and reflection. We join hundreds of communities across this great land in honoring those who gave their lives to protect ours. We cannot replace these fallen heroes and we shall never forget their courage and determination.
We should be proud as Americans. And in Maplewood, we are what is best about our nation. We embrace diversity yet are united as one people. Our open and welcoming community represents the liberty that America promises and which so many gave of their lives to protect. Today we reinforce our country’s democratic principles and resist efforts to divide us along lines of class, race, gender or sexual orientation.
It is also a time to recognize the horrors of war. Our nation has been in a military conflict since 2001. If you or your child is 15 years of age or younger, America has been at war for her/his entire life. We still have troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and parts of Africa. We hope and pray that no other names are added to the list of those lost in warfare.
Let us commit to working together for peace and justice and an end to conflicts and violence throughout the world. Today, we honor the fallen warriors by pledging to make our world a better and safer place for our children and for generations to come.