Wreaths were laid this (Monday) morning at the stone memorials on the statehouse grounds that pay tribute to Iowa soldiers who died in Vietnam and Korea. The names of the four dozen Iowa soldiers who’ve died in Iraq and Afghanistan were read, and red poppies were placed on a cross to mark their sacrifice.
Colonel Ronald Randazzo of the Iowa National Guard praised those who paused to remember. “Abraham Lincoln once said that any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure,” Randazzo said. “It is more than just another day off. It’s a time to honor those who have died in the service of our nation.”
Randazzo said Americans have a long history of military service, but too many citizens take that for granted. He cited a recent Gallup Poll which found only 28 percent of Americans know the true meaning of Memorial Day. “For more than 370 years — from the formation of the Massachusetts Militia to the global War on Terrorism — our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have always been willing to fight and in many cases been willing to die for our freedom and our way of life,” he said. “By honoring our nation’s war dead…we honor their sacrifice.”
Randazzo calls Memorial Day “sacred” and a time to remember all who gave the “ultimate sacrifice” for their country. He described it as an “unending line” of noble soldiers. Randazzo urged Iowans to pause for a minute this afternoon, at three o’clock, for the National Moment of Remembrance.
After Randazzo’s remarks, there was a 21-gun salute, taps was played and a Navy chaplain said a benediction. You may listen to Randazzo’s speech by clinking on the link below.