Gov. Branstad's Iowa Veteran's Memorial Day Ceremony remarks
As prepared for delivery.
Thank you Director Tymeson for that very kind introduction.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and I very much appreciate your hardwork at the Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Lt. Governor and I just came from the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum this morning for their Memorial Day Ceremony.
And as usual, it was very well attended and it was an honor for us to be there.
It is also an honor for us to be here this morning.
Memorial Day is a powerful reminder that the freedoms we cherish are inseparably connected to the notion of sacrifice.
It is this sacrifice our armed forces have borne over the course of history that has enabled us to remain a self-governing people.
The fundamental concept of self-governance and liberty has proven to be the greatest governmental experiment this world has ever seen.
However, this exceptional blessing also carries with it the tremendous obligation to ensure its continued existence.
As history has shown us, protecting this freedom has inevitably been a costly venture.
From the frigid winter at Valley Forge; to blood stained beaches of Normandy; to the sweltering jungles of Vietnam; to the blistering deserts in Iraq and rugged terrain in Afghanistan; our military has cemented the foundation of freedom for future generations of Americans.
This display of duty before glory for the betterment of future generations is the ultimate sacrifice.
And we will forever be grateful for their selfless acts.
Hanging in my office is a portrait of George Washington praying at Valley Forge.
The portrait captures the adversity and uncertainty our founding fathers faced in their pursuit of liberty.
However as we all know, this pursuit is never finished.
And while we are 235 years removed from the commitment to liberty depicted in the portrait, we are never removed from the danger of losing it.
Today we honor and remember those who have bravely served and defended this commitment to self-governance that has transcended generations.
Often time throughout history, Americans have sought to bring the cause of freedom to peoples throughout the world.
As Dwight Eisenhower famously said to the Allied Expeditionary Force the morning of June 6th 1944, “the hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you”.
As Americans, this is something we can all be very proud of.
And as a nation, we can also be proud of the fact that we have a day like Memorial Day to honor those who have died to promote freedom.
As Governor, I make it a priority to attend fallen military members funerals.
Without fail, these funerals inevitably invoke a tremendous amount of sadness.
The tragic nature of a life cut too short truly is a numbing thought.
But what I have also observed during these funerals is the enormous amount of respect and support our Iowa communities have for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
So as we gather here today at the Iowa Veteran Cemetery, I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who served.
I am truly honored to be here today with all of you.
And I will continue to keep my thoughts and prayers on those who have died in duty and their families.
Thank you and God Bless.