Below is the speech delivered by Representative Diehl in Abington and Whitman and by his wife, KathyJo, in East Bridgewater for Memorial Day:
“The observance of Memorial Day serves as a reminder of a rich history of American might and sacrifice and of the men and women of our great state and country who have served in all branches of our military. It is a day of reflection, honor and reverence and must be fittingly celebrated if we are to remain “One Nation Under God.” And, it is also a call; a call to act.
For this day is too great to be dependent on memory alone. In 1884, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., himself a veteran of the Civil War, from where Memorial Day was first celebrated, had some forward-thinking insight into this day which I would like to share with you. He said, “Today is the moment that by common consent, we pause to be conscious of our national life, to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.”
Holmes understood to fight a war you must believe something and want something with all your might.
To fight for the Union, to abolish slavery, to liberate Cuba, to make the world safe for democracy, to fight fascism, to keep a nuclear world safe, to fight terrorism.
In their memory, we must remember this day not only as an observance, but a celebration of a life worth living.
Let us not only hallow the sacred memory of those from this town who died for our country, let us also be inspired this day to act diligently on the challenges that face us today so that we can be worthy of their actions.
This is the time for a new hope. This is the hour to stand up and be counted. This is a sacred moment to dedicate ourselves and to act with enthusiasm and faith on the issues that confront each and every one of us as Americans, both at home and abroad.
Let us here today dedicate our lives as Lincoln so eloquently stated, so that the dead shall not have died in vain, and that “government of the people, by the people, for the people” shall not perish from the earth.”