The sacrifices of America’s military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving were honored in word and song at Marco Island’s Memorial Day ceremony.
Dave Gardner, commander of Marco’s VFW Post 6370, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included music from the Marco Island Strummers, the Marco Island Academy Singers and Craig Greusel, music director for the Marco Lutheran Church.
Color guard duties were performed by members of the Marco Island Police Department.
The keynote speaker was U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert (retired), who began his military career as an enlisted man, before becoming an artillery sergeant. He later became an Army Ranger, moving on to the Green Berets, where he commander. Post 9-11, he was involved in planning and executing the American military’s removal of the Taliban from Afghanistan within 90 days.
Lambert said he and his wife Bonnie had had a wonderful time on Marco Island and that they were thoroughly impressed with the community’s MemorialDay observation.
“This is America the way I remember it the fifties,” he said. You’ve got it right here.”
An excerpt of Lambert’s remarks can be found below:
“…Deep in our hearts are the memories of our fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard service men and women. We recall their valor and their sacrifice. We remember that they gave their lives so that others might live in freedom. And now our service men and women continue to pay the ultimate price in places far, far away, in places such as Fallujah, Kandahar and other locations unknown to us 16 years ago.
Some may have doubts about the justification for the War in Iraq. Some may have serious reservations about the conduct on the War on Terror. Some struggle to find consensus on how we’re going to deal with ISIS. But these are policy matters and they are far away from the foxhole. What is important is that we never doubt the patriotism, loyalty to fellowwarriors, loyalty to family or the bravery of our fallen.
During Vietnam, in this regard, we lost our way. But in 1983, the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., and as part of it, the veterans who were never greeted with speeches or banners, staged their own parade down the avenue. President Reagan said that as America watched them, some in wheelchairs and all of them proud, there was a feeling that the nation had finally come together and at long last, welcomed her boys home.
As a nation, we have learned much since Vietnam and during the last decade-and-a-half of fighting. We all know to never allow anyone disrespect our service men and women. We demand the best for our fighters. We expect leaders to be judicious and wise in the use of force. We accept nothing but the best professional care for those wounded or damaged by war, and we open our arms in embrace and we line the streets to honorthose who’ve given the bodies in the pursuit of liberty.
Sadly, many families live life today with an emptiness, a void, we cannot fathom. Some sit at ceremonies throughout the country with feelings of both pride and loss. On this day, all Americans stand with those families. Here in Florida we now know with certainty that this nation will discharge her duty to those who have served nobly and well. A grateful nation opens her heart for our warriors’ sacrifice, courage and love of country.
So it’s an honor for Bonnie to stand here with you today, with other veterans and their families, and to stand for those for those who fell who are now resting peacefully in blessed ground across the nation. I would also ask that you remember in your prayers today, those who never came home. Those lying in veterans’ cemeteries abroad, near our battlefields of the past, in nine other countries, such as the Philippines, Panama, Tunisia, France, Italy, et cetera. This is for them too…”