40 Memorial Day Quotes To Honor Those We Lost


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As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is finally upon us. Long weekends, family barbecues, backyard games, and cold beer. This weekend, as we enjoy a break from the routine, let’s also remember that this holiday is a time to honor and remember the courageous men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. Below is a collection of significant quotes that honor the memory of those we have lost. May these words serve as a tribute to their enduring legacy and a reminder of the profound impact they have had on our lives and our nation.

A Brief History

The origins of Memorial Day date back to the aftermath of the Civil War, a conflict that claimed more American lives than any other, leading to the establishment of national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities began holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance on May 30, 1868, which became known as Decoration Day. This date was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. The name “Memorial Day” came into official use after World War II, and in 1971, it became an official federal holiday.

The true meaning of Memorial Day lies in its purpose: to honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in defense of the nation. It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom and the bravery of those who fought to protect it. These individuals, from all walks of life and corners of the country, displayed extraordinary courage and selflessness. Their ultimate sacrifice ensures that we, as a nation, continue to enjoy the liberties and democratic values that define the United States.

A we celebrate this weekend with friends and family, let’s all take some time to reflect on those brave men and women we lost, who gave so much that we might be here today.

  1. “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – Harry S. Truman
  2. “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J. Savage
  3. “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
  5. “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  6. “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis
  7. “Your souls shall be where the heroes are and your memory shine like the morning-star. Brave and dear, Shield us here. Farewell!” – Joyce Kilmer
  8. “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” – George S. Patton
  9. “The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” – Thomas Campbell
  10. “For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” – James A. Garfield
  11. “Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” – Mary Roach
  12. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale
  14. “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe
  15. “Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay, but we can honor their sacrifice.” – Barack Obama
  16. “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.” – Claudia Pemberton
  17. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
  18. “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  19. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill
  20. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou
  21. “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson II
  22. “Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget!” – Rudyard Kipling
  23. “Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson
  24. “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan
  25. “As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.” – Laurence Binyon
  26. “Yours has the suffering been, the memory shall be ours.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  27. “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” – General Douglas MacArthur
  28. “The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.” – John F. Kennedy
  29. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother” – William Shakespeare
  30. “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” – John A. Logan
  31. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
  32. “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” – George William Curtis
  33. “Let their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster
  34. “Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” – Colonel David Hackworth
  35. “They fell, but o’er their glorious grave floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.” – Francis Marion Crawford
  36. “Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don’t know how far we can go.” – Bernard Malamud
  37. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
  38. “If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.” – John McCrae
  39. “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” – Bob Riley
  40. “Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” – Calvin Coolidge


Related Reading: 7 Quotes About Freedom From Famous Men

Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

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