Ed Murray: Honor Veterans By Being Good Men And Women Yourselves
In the final scene in Steven Spielberg's movie "Saving Private Ryan," the young soldier rescued at the high cost of other soldiers' lives morphs into a man in his mid-70s looking at a grave marker at a cemetery in Normandy, France.
As the elderly Ryan begins to break down, his wife comes to comfort him.
He turns to her and says, "'tell me I'm a good man.'"
Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray cited that scene when he spoke to a full chapel at the Wyoming State Veterans Cemetery near Evansville on Wednesday.
"I have seen that scene replayed in life countless times, and it inspires me and moves me to my core every time I see it," Murray said.
Several years ago, he and his wife were in Washington, D.C., and was near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, he said.
"We saw a Vietnam vet, and tears were pouring from his eyes," Murray said. "I can only imagine what was going through his mind, what he was recalling, and what he was experiencing as he gazed upon the tens of thousands of names that are memorialized.
"But I wanted to go up to him and tell him, 'you have lived a good life, you are a good man," he said.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson created the holiday in recognition of the armistice that ended World War I that was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all those who performed military service.
Civilians, too, are called to live lives of honor, Murray said.
"We're called upon because of the sacrifices that the veterans made on our behalf," he said. "We are called to be the best that we can be. We are called to do the right things in life and to be examples of what it means to have been fought for, to have been protected and to have been defended."
While Wyoming does a lot for veterans, it can do more and individuals can do more, too, Murray said.
"It can start in our families, it can start in our communities, it can start in our schools, in our churches, in our places of employment," he said. "Recognizing how blessed we are to live in this great United States, this land of freedom."