In celebration of Memorial Day, the staff of Military & Aerospace Electronics offers up its appreciation and the text of an address by Senator Foraker at Arlington, on Memorial Day, May 30, 1905:
"Fellow Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:
This day belongs to our soldier dead; not of one war, but of all our wars; and particularly here, in this cemetery, where on these shafts and stones we read names that illumine so many periods of our history.
But while it belongs to all who have at any time or place upheld the flag on land or on sea, yet it had its origin in the sorrow and gratitude that filled the heart of the Nation, as it emerged from the Civil War, stricken with grief, but crowned with glorious triumph.
For these reasons it is no disparagement of others to speak here to-day chiefly of that conflict; its character and results.
We have reached the time when this can be done dispassionately.
As the traveler sailing away from the land sees the shore, the trees, the houses, and the hills receding, blending and disappearing until only the mountain peaks are longer visible, so have the details and minor features of that great struggle blended and faded out of sight, leaving, as we look back to it across the forty years that have since elapsed, only those strong and commanding facts that have taken permanent places in history.
We no longer see regiments, brigades, divisions, corps, or even separate armies, but only one mighty and invincible host, wearing the blue and relentlessly pressing on and on, and ever onward, through success and adversity alike, from battlefield to battlefield, until, with waving flags, flashing sabres and gleaming bayonets, they marched home flushed with final victory.
It would be interesting and inspiring to recall that time and review in detail those days of sacrifice, of hardship, of battle, of death, of heroism, of patriotic devotion, of thrilling triumph; and here in this presence there comes an almost irresistible impulse to do so. But all that would be only repeating familiar history.
I shall, therefore, say but little in an abstract way of our heroes and their deeds of daring, that I may speak more fully of their great work.
As we behold the people of this land to-day all at peace, all prosperous, all happy, all imbued with love for our flag and our Government, it seems almost incredible that so recently we should or could have been distracted and brought to the very brink of destruction by one of the most ruthless wars of modern times.
Through good report and bad, victory and defeat, summer and winter, sunshine and storm, they unflinchingly and uncomplainingly met every requirement of the great task that fell upon them. No hardship was too severe for them to undergo, no loss was too heavy for them to bear, no sacrifice to comfort, or blood, or life was too great for them to make. They laid all unsparingly upon their country's altar, and behold the result--this mighty Nation, so full of honor and so full of promise. Only the shortcomings of ourselves, or of those who are to come after us can bring their work to naught. Our presence here to-day is our pledge that it shall not fail through fault of ours, for we have come, not only to strew flowers on their graves, recount their deeds, extol their virtues, and pay tribute to their memory, but also that we may study the lessons they taught, and by these sacred and beautiful ceremonies consecrate ourselves anew to the great duty of perpetuating what they preserved.... The institutions they perfected will endure for long ages to come, and with passing years bear ever-increasing blessings to humanity."
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