Wreaths Across America at Luxembourg American Cemetery, November 30, 2019
Remarks by Ambassador Randy Evans
First, let me say how proud I am of every single person here and how proud I am to be an American today. I ask you, is there any place you would rather be than here at this moment, at this time, to do this thing? It is a reflection of who we are as Americans. It is a reflection of how we care, how deeply rooted the sacrifice of others is ingrained in everything that we stand for.
Recently, I was rather surprised when I received a note, and the note said, “You Americans don’t have to keep reminding us of your sacrifice.” And, I thought to myself, you have missed the entire point of what we’re here for today. We are not here to remind anyone of anything. We are here to remember all of these young men and one woman for what they did for all of us, because that’s who we are as Americans. That’s how we think. That’s how we believe. That’s how we carry ourselves on. We don’t forget.
So it’s, it’s just a great honor to be here at this event. Last December. Wreaths Across America was in Normandy. And this year, they are here in the Luxembourg American Cemetery, the second overseas cemetery. It is a great honor, but I think it’s a fitting that they would come to Luxembourg as the second place to honor so much sacrifice. It says much about the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, our cemetery. A special thanks goes out to superintendent Jennifer Roman and Jake, our manager ceremonies today. I just want you to look at what a beautiful job they have done, of taking care of our fallen. It’s a job that they’ve taken seriously. And I want us to respect that as we go about, honoring and remembering those who have lay down our lives for the cause of freedom.
The mission of the Wreaths Across American is to remember the fallen served, to honor them, and to teach children the value of freedom. This message is so important as we approach the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. 75 years seems so far away it seems like just an entry in the history book that we study when we are in high school or elementary school.
But the fact of the matter is that it is the reality. It is the reality of what happens when oppression and tyranny run amuck and are not confronted. That the lives of these brave young people have to be called upon in sacrifice in order for freedom to be preserved. It is a symbol for stories. And I thought I Wayne your analogy is perfect, it is library.
I, I come out here often. Jennifer will tell you, I come out here announced and unannounced. I will share with you a secret. My secret is this, when I am at the embassy and I think I have had a really bad day, I walk out. I get in the car and I tell the driver to bring me here. I walk around. I look and I realize what a really bad day must be. And I hold my head up knowing that their really bad days were so that we can have really good days and what a beautiful day God has given us today.
It’s so fitting ever here on a beautiful sunny day to honor such bright, young man and one woman who changed the whole future. When I look- and social media is the thing now- and I’ll look to see, on the websites to see a list and the question was if you have a marker that you would like a wreath placed on and you can’t make it send the name. And I was just taken aback and my heart was warmed when I saw the huge list. My father was in this row. My grandfather is in this row plot this number. And the list went on and on. So today, you get a great honor, not only do you get to place a wreath on someone you selected, but you get to place a wreath from somebody else who was the object, center of gravity of another family’s world- a family whose dad or uncle, or brother or mother won’t come home, didn’t come home, but they remember them forever more.
I want to thank you for doing because you’re being here says more about what we in the United States of America represent than any speech, any remarks that I could ever give. And so, the real the real heroes of today lie before us, but the heroes of this moment, are all among us and we should celebrate that together. God bless the United States of America.