Memorial Day message: ‘Remember Them All’
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
This year’s Memorial Day speaker Brian Hill brought a powerful message at Monday’s VFW observance, urging people to “Remember Them All.”
Hill was referring to all of those Americans who have given their lives to keep this country and its people free.
In preparing for his speech, Hill said he was at a tire store and sat beside an elderly man with a walker.
Hill noticed a flag on the man’s walker so he asked him if he was a veteran. The man drew a deep breath and answered “yes.”
Hill told the man he was delivering Monday’s Memorial Day address and asked him what was the most important message about Memorial Day.
Without hesitating, the man answered, “Remember them all. Just . . . remember them all,” as he looked to the sky.
Hill asked the man if he had plans for Memorial Day. Again, without hesitation, the man said he has a picnic every Memorial Day at the grave of his son—a son who was killed in combat.
When the man’s car was done, and he was walking out of the store, he turned back to Hill and said, “Remember Them All.”
The encounter made such an impression on Hill that he centered Monday’s speech around the theme: “Remember Them All.”
Hill was himself a Marine and a combat veteran in the Middle East during Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the early 1990s. He served in the Marines for seven years.
Hill asked people to be mindful of the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform and their families. And for some, that means the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life.
“They gave their tomorrows for our todays,” Hill said. “We are the greatest country in this world because of our people and our members of military service who valiantly protect all of us.”
Hill asked the crowd “how can we possibly pay proper respect in a way beyond what we are already doing?”
“By remembering them all . . .
remembering why they fought . . . remembering what they fought for . . . then make sure that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain.”
Recently, Hill said he read a poll showing that 80 percent of Americans don’t know the true meaning of what Memorial Day is and what it stands for.
It doesn’t stand for hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill or an extra day off work.
Instead, it’s a time to recognize the sacrifices these fallen warriors have made to keep America free.
“Today and every day, honor them, love them and most of all . . . Remember Them All.”
Hill is a native of Imperial and the son of Ansel and Joyce Hill.
Monday’s observance at Imperial Mount Hope Cemetery was conducted by the Andrew Kinder VFW Post #4688 and its auxiliary members.