Following is the observance message by Ronald Reagan on the occasion of Memorial Day, 26 May 1983. He was the XL President of the United States for 1981-1989.
Memorial Day is a time to take stock of the present, reflect on the past, and renew our commitment to the future of America.
Today, as in the past, there are problems that must be solved and challenges that must be met. We can tackle them with our full strength and creativity only because we are free to work them out in our own way. We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.
I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.
This Memorial Day of 1983, we honor those brave Americans who died in the service of their country. I think an ancient scholar put it well when he wrote: “Let us now praise famous men . . . All these were honored in their generation, and were the glory of their times. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.” As a tribute to their sacrifice, let us renew our resolve to remain strong enough to deter aggression, wise enough to preserve and protect our freedom, and thoughtful enough to promote lasting peace throughout the world.