Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers

“The soldiers we honor here will indeed have died in vain if we cannot create the conditions that will bring men, young and old, into society’s fabric. But, that fabric must be made up of all men. No longer can we choose to repress new voices. We must respond to the youth of today. We must know that our duty is to build enthusiasm, not frustration, in a world where the men we honor died so that we might conquer new horizons.”
Sargent Shriver |Suresnes, France| May 30, 1968

How do we honor those we have lost in war? For our Quote of the Week, we draw on some words that Sargent Shriver spoke on Memorial Day 50 years ago, as he reflected on what we could do to acknowledge the sacrifice of those we have lost. By creating a more inclusive society, where all could have hope and opportunity, we reconnect with our highest ideals and help ensure a more peaceful future for all of us.

Sargent Shriver gave these Remarks at Suresnes American Military Cemetary and Memorial at the beginning of his tenure as US Ambassador to France. He mentions the contemporary problems he had tackled in his previous roles as Director of the Peace Corps and as Director the Office of Economic Opportunity: poverty, injustice, inequality, disease, lack of education, as issues that we all, as citizens, have a “duty” to alleviate. He cautioned that, “Failure to involve ourselves in the politics, the education, the commercial endeavors of our times, is to abdicate one’s citizenship.” He reminds us that just as the soldiers who have died in war were doing their duty, so must we do our duty in tackling the obstacles that our most vulnerable face. We must pick up the mantle of our fallen brothers and sisters, and continue to serve using the skills and resources we have available to us. Only by doing this, he argues, can we truly honor the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers.

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Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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