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Price: Honor the Fallen with the Life You Lead

May 5, 2006
Press Release

Cary, NC - Congressman David Price (NC-04) delivered the following address during a Memorial Day Observance at Hillcrest Cemetery in Cary on Monday.

It is a privilege to join the veterans and citizens of Cary once again for a Memorial Day observance that we look forward to each year, a time when we remember those who have served our country in uniform and the sacrifices they have made so that the nation Lincoln called "the last, best hope of earth" might endure.

I was thinking about this observance yesterday, and of what meaningful word I could bring to you, when I realized I had just heard it! My minister began his sermon with this thought: "While we would all like to add years to our lives, what really matters is the life we add to our years." This is something we might well contemplate on Memorial Day, regarding both those lives we memorialize and the lives we are living in the present.

Almost all of those whose sacrifice we honor today died too young. They were cut down in the flower of their youth, leaving a void in the lives of parents, spouses and sweethearts, and often young children, leaving their dreams and ambitions unrealized. Yet their lives were consequential beyond what many of us could ever hope to contribute no matter how long we live. They added "life to their years," lives of service to their country when it most needed them, dedication to a cause larger than themselves.

And what lesson do we, the living, take from those who gave their all? This was the question Lincoln asked at Gettysburg in 1863:

It is for us the living ... to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced .... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We, the living, are admonished and inspired to add life to our years – to make our lives consequential not just for ourselves but for those around us, for family, for community, and for the country that has given us so much. We will find different ways to serve; not everyone's contribution will be the same. But let us resolve today to add life to our years in ways that honor and build upon the sacrifices of those who gave so much for us.

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