May 31, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

What follows is a copy of the speech given by Ms. Jessica Paschal. Ms. Paschal is a Senior at Frederick High School in Frederick, MD and American Legion Post 11's Miss Poppy.

Good afternoon, my name is Jessica Paschal. I am honored to represent the Miss Poppy Program for the Francis Scott Key American Legion Auxiliary. Thank you for allowing me to come before you today.

Members of the FSK Auxiliary understand the sacrifice our Armed Forces have made to preserve freedom. To honor past and current American service members, we wear a red poppy on Memorial Day weekend. It is a symbol of the price of war and the sacrifice of millions of our country’s finest people. On the battlefields of Belgium, during the First World War, poppies grew wild amid the overturned soils of the battlefield. They were a flower among the devastation, much like the soldiers that died in the flower of their youth. They were a reminder of the supreme cost of war. The American Legion Auxiliary is asking every American citizen to wear a poppy on Memorial Day. Wear it in honor of the millions of Americans who have willingly served our nation, all too many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This Memorial Day weekend is dedicated as an honored tribute to all American veterans who have been wounded or killed while in military service, including those who are currently serving. It is one of our Nation’s most somber and patriotic observances. This particular Memorial Day, I would like to pay special tribute to Cpl. Kurt Shea and Sgt. David Smith. Both of these Marines were killed in action while serving in Afghanistan last year. They were both graduates of Frederick High School.

Tomorrow I will graduate from that same High School. I live in freedom because of sacrifices such as theirs. It is important to note that they fought and died in a country that did not allow girls to go to school only ten years ago. I will not forget. We have moved forward as a Nation because of their sacrifice. We have security because of their commitment. We have unparalleled freedoms because of their valor. Join the American Legion Auxiliary in recognizing the sacrifice of our veterans by wearing a red poppy this Memorial Day.

Take a moment to remember their commitment, dedication, honor, courage and sacrifice.

Take a moment to remember to say, “Thank You.”

Oh no...thank you Jessica.

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