This is his Memorial Day speech and I really liked the message:
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers decided something absolutely remarkable. They declared, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal..." It was a self-evident truth. It needed no explanation or elaboration.
Now, fast forward just one generation.
In a real memorial speech at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln observed: "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth to this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal..." What had been a self evident truth in 1776 was reduced to a mere proposition in just 87 years. Lincoln's next sentence was even more telling. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
Lincoln didn't know whether democracy would work.
And neither do we.
Our nation is 233 years old. In terms of world history, that's a blink of the eye. Democracy is still an experiment, and we do not know how it will end.
What we do know is that hundreds of thousands of young men and women have died so that we could participate in this experiment. They died fighting on farms in Herkimer, New York. They died in the deserts of Afghanistan, in the hills of Korea, beneath the waters of the South Pacific, and on the frozen Aleutian Islands of Alaska.
Most of them 17, 18, 19 year old kids.
They died in fear so that we could live in freedom.
We owe them much more than a parade, and a speech like this one. In truth, we can never repay our debt to them. But we can nurture our liberties, strengthen them, and hand them to the next generation stronger than when we received them.
And we can pray.
Heavenly Father, hold our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in your loving embrace, as perpetual reward for their service on earth.
-Assemblyman Sean T. Hanna
May 30, 2011