Perhaps the most fitting way to observe Memorial Day is to call to mind the collective memories we share of those Americans who sacrificed everything for our country and our freedom.
More often than not, these individuals were everyday Americans our friends, our family and our neighbors who took on extraordinary challenges and made the ultimate sacrifice. They didn't do it because they expected grand memorials to be built in their honor.
They didn't do it for glory or for fame. They did it because it was right. They did it because they wanted a brighter future for every single one of us. They did it because they knew in their hearts that the United States of America this great experiment born in liberty and justice was worth giving everything they had. If we don't remember them, who will?
All across the country this weekend, in parks, cemeteries and schools, Americans will join with neighbors, family and friends to commemorate Memorial Day and pay homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and liberty.
These moving tributes are an awesome reminder of the generations of Americans who answered a calling to serve a cause greater than themselves so that others could live in the greatest country the world has ever known.
Thousands of men and women, many from here in Iowa, are today serving all over the world.
Many of these brave men and women are stationed in dangerous areas of the world under hostile conditions. Like those who proudly wore the uniform before them, they have left their families, their communities and their jobs to defend our great nation from those who wish to do us harm.
However, honoring our brave men and women in uniform past and present must not become just a tradition that happens one weekend every May.
It is our duty to ensure that our veterans, members of the reserves, National Guard, active duty personnel and their families are given the appreciation they have earned, every day.