By Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight
Vermont National Guard
As we move into Memorial Day weekend, I would like to share some thoughts, aligned with what I provided during the Vermont Fallen Heroes Memorial rededication and Memorial Day observance on May 27, 2021.
I believe it is important to understand that the Soldiers we remember during Memorial Day, and their families and loved ones, are different. Service in our military is a choice. The Soldiers we honor here today, when asked to serve, didn’t say “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Knowing the challenges, the time away from family, work or school, and, at times the danger inherent with military service, our Fallen said “I will go.” That, to me, makes them, and their families, different. We are fortunate to have them. It is our duty to remember our Fallen, support their families, and know that we are their legacy. We should share their story as we are standing on their shoulders. They were Americans, unified with the common purpose of serving others, and making the world a better place while wearing the cloth of our nation. They were certainly a part of something much larger than themselves. Our Soldiers gave their lives in order to make freedom a possibility for others, strangers to them in a foreign land.
We, as a nation, ask much of our service members from all branches of our military. They willingly take on all assigned missions. Those who have given their last full measure of devotion should forever be in our thoughts and in our hearts. No matter the branch of service, I ask that today, at least, we remember.
For our Gold Star Families: As we, as a nation, observe Memorial Day every year, I know you remember your Fallen loved ones every day. To you we offer our unending support and express our highest gratitude. You carry a weight that will always be with you. Let us help you carry it when needed.
As I reflect on those who have gone before us, I will leave you with my favorite quote, from Thucydides, an Athenian historian and general: “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
Thank you all for being leaders in our community, state and nation. You make a difference. You make us better. Please know I am proud of your service and am honored to work with such amazing people.
God bless you all, God bless America and God Bless our Fallen Heroes and their families.