Although we set aside today to remember America's fallen, in advance of Memorial Day, I had an opportunity to think about America's World War II veterans--both fallen and surviving.
Last Wednesday, I accompanied some of central Illinois' surviving veterans of World War II to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. There, they had the chance to remember their fallen comrades and the years of their own service to America.
You know, the period of service they came to recall may have been but a brief time many years ago in their long lives, but the memory of it still burns brightly.
They recall their friends and fellow soldiers. They recall individual campaigns and battles. And they recall responding to the plea for national service. "The country needed us," said one veteran, nearly 70 years later, "So we went."
It was an honor to join these veterans at the National World War II Memorial last week. And, if you haven't visited this relatively new site, I encourage you to make a point of it if you're ever in Washington.
But it's also an honor to pause today and remember all of America's faithful fallen on this Memorial Day. I hope you'll join me in that, today and throughout the year.
What many have sacrificed for us must not be forgotten.