The Fallen And Those Who Serve
By Senator Ted Stevens
May 30, 2005
Earlier this month - on May 8th
- our nation marked the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory
in Europe during World War II. And, later this summer -
on August 15th - we will mark the anniversary of our victory
in Japan. Having commemorated V-E Day just a couple of
weeks ago, my thoughts have turned back to a time when I was
It has been more than 50 years since I returned home from World
War II. I went into the service - as most of my generation
did and was fortunate to do what I wanted to do, which
was fly. In 1943, I left college and entered the Army Air
Corps. I was assigned to serve with the 14th Air Force
in China, and I witnessed the bravery of our troops firsthand.
Sixty years ago, for those of us who served, every day was a
milestone. Each day marked another step toward victory.
We now recognize only a handful of those days: Pearl Harbor
Day, D-Day, V-J Day, and V-E Day. But today - on Memorial
Day - we honor each day in our history that young Americans have
answered the call to serve and paid the ultimate price.
We also honor the young men and women in uniform who defend us
today. It takes an extraordinary person to do the job we
now ask of the military. They truly are the next "greatest
Their commitment to the mission and their bravery remind me of
a story from my World War II days. During the war, General
George Marshall was asked if the Americans had a secret weapon
to win the war. He said, "Yes. Our secret weapon
is the best darned kids in the world." General Marshall's
words endure today.
Those who serve today and those of us who served during World
War II share a common bond; we are comrades in the deepest sense
of the word. Today, all Americans honor their service and
the sacrifices of those who came before them. On behalf
of our grateful nation, I salute them.
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