Lake Zurich Mayor Tom Poynton Memorial Day Speech

Good Morning … and Welcome! to Lake Zurich’s American Legion Post 964’s 100th Annual Memorial Day tribute to our fallen heroes and today’s Memorial Day ceremony. 

First off … How about Josh Thompson and the Lake Zurich High School Marching Band … they are out here every single Memorial Day … rain, sleet, snow, heat. 

Last year it was 95 degrees. It’s a bit more bearable today. Thank You LZHS Band!

I am again honored to be here with you this morning as we reflect upon the “usual” theme of Memorial Day  … “Remember”.  

As the only veteran on the Lake Zurich Village Board …  I Remember.

We celebrate Memorial Day with parades and picnics, and we welcome in the unofficial beginning of summer.    

But … We cannot and we should not forget what this day is really all about.

Remember … the men and women who died while serving our country … and the sacrifices that they and their families have made on behalf of our country.  

As I thought about today and what I would say … that hasn’t already been said about Memorial Day (some things will be included in the Proclamation I will read in a few minutes) … I had a thought about …  “the letter”.

“The letter” … the one that starts with the so very sad phrase, 

“It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of …”  

and the unfathomable grief and sense of loss suffered by the spouses, parents and families who have received “the letter” … a grief that cannot be relieved.

I began to think about how Memorial Day means more than just honoring and revering our war dead, but also to honor and revere those families who lost their loved ones. 

These people truly know what sacrifice is, 

for it is they who have lost their loved ones, 

it is they who have had to go on and persevere, 

it is they whose lives have completely changed,

It is they who have made, and continue to make, a sacrifice, each and every day, for our nation 

For they did not die in defending our nation’s honor and protecting our freedoms, but their loss is forever felt, and must be, of equal importance. 

We must recognize that. 

In the name of duty and service to our country that cost their loved ones their lives, they are the true, living face of Memorial Day. 

“From our little community, many individuals left in the various services of our country. Why it was ordained that some individuals should not return we don’t know – 

But what we do know is that each soldier answered the call because they believed it was their duty. In their own thoughts nothing less would have satisfied them. 

Each left behind families and loved ones.

We want the families of these men and women to whom we make this remembrance to realize that the citizens of the Village of Lake Zurich honor and respect them for the sacrifice each of them has made. 

Today, we again honor, respect … and remember our fallen soldiers and their loved ones. 

Today we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue that our special way of life.

So … Go home, enjoy your hot dogs and potato salad, but make certain to spend a least a bit of time remembering and thanking in your hearts the brave men and women whose sacrifices made all this possible … and all the families who received “the letter”.

Where once our mission was to serve …                                                                    

Today our mission is reflection and remembrance. Your presence here today and that of the people gathering all across America is a tribute to those lost troops and to their Families. REMEMBER, While we are here … and as I mention every year … let’s also take a moment to remember the brave men and women of our Police, Fire, and Rescue departments … our first responders, who gave their lives in the line of duty so that we could be here today. 

On behalf of all the families of the Village of Lake Zurich, I wish to thank all the Veterans and their families, all the local Veterans who could not attend today, and all our local sons and daughters presently serving in the military.  

I extend our sincerest gratitude and thanks for your sacrifices as you make our country a better place for all of us. 

I hope you enjoy the weekend … but I hope you pause to reflect and remember.

Freedom is NOT free!    

Now I would like to ask …

American Legion Post 964  Commander Mike Hudson 

VFW Post 11020 Commander Tony Roberti 

… to please join me. (READ PROCLAMATION)

Thank you all for attending.