Remembering Our Veterans and Their Sacrifices

**The following are remarks as prepared for delivery by Mayor Richard Thomas, Mount Vernon Memorial Day Parade Closing Ceremony, Hartley Park, Mount Vernon, May 28, 2018”

Good morning.

My thanks to all our parade marchers and parade watchers. Your smiles, energy and patriotism make us all proud to call Mount Vernon home. So let’s give it up for Mount Vernon and Mount Vernon pride.

Today, we are here to recognize sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice. We began our commemoration of Memorial Day laying wreaths at the steps of City Hall to honor those in the Armed Services from Mount Vernon who gave their lives for our country to:

· protect freedom,

· promote justice, and

· preserve liberty for all.

The many blessings we enjoy today come to us from the sacrifices made by the men and women who put service to our nation ahead of their own lives.

One way we honor them is to always remember that freedom isn’t free. Dr. King told us never to forget that Freedom has always been an expensive thing. History is fit testimony to the fact that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial.

I am also reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy when he said My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.Since our nation was founded, veterans have heeded that call.

The United States is not a perfect country. But throughout its history, it has always strived to be a better country. An abundance of natural resources, smart people and incredible advances in technology have made us fortunate to live here.

But we are most exceptional as a country when sacrifice and selflessness are put into service for others. To all our veterans, thank you for your vital and invaluable service.

To those who have given their lives to our country — and to their families who bear the loss most deeply — we honor you today by remembering your sacrifice and pledging to teach our children and the children of future generations that without you, we would not have the freedoms we hold so dear.

May God protect the men and women who serve our nation and bless our country and city.

Thank you.

Originally Published in the Westchester County Press — May 30, 2018