Veterans

With respect and gratitude over the years to our veterans,

I have supported and will continue to support the services provided by Orange County’s Veterans Services Department by voting for its Department Budget and Capitol Budget.

We must continue to seek ways to expand our veterans transportation program number of pickup locations; maintain and expand as needed our veterans food delivery program; and tend to the Orange County Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery daily operations, beautification program, and expansion plans.

We must always honor our Gold Star Families.

Click on the link below:
Memorial Day Speech – May 28, 2017

Click on the link below:
Memorial Day Speech – May 29, 2016

Kemnitz: Memorial Day Speech, 2015
The long tradition of honoring our dead service men and women includes most gloriously, the ceremony at which Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address 153 years ago, and more humbly millions of ceremonies like this throughout the land during the last century and a half. And today it is fitting and proper, that we should continue tradition, founded on our deep gratitude to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, in defense of our freedoms. We pursue our life, liberty, and happiness every day because they, whom we honor today, gave everything. While we pay our respects today, we should remember also those who served, and were spared the ultimate sacrifice. Their willingness, heroism, and courage were no less, but their fate was different. Some were disabled, others wounded less severely, and still others emerged without a scratch. But as we are learning, the of combat, is a trauma that may leave wounds that are real and lasting. So as we honor our dead, let us also revere the living service people who are among us. We treasure your service.

And let us be grateful, that the liberty they all defended, the freedoms they paid a high price to preserve, represent a cause noble enough to warrant the sacrifice. We as a nation have trod a path to perfection laid out by our founding fathers, and we have trod it well. Our Constitution, and our concepts of individual rights and liberties, mark a pinnacle for mankind. Our responsibility to our war dead and our living veterans is not simply that we honor them today, and all the Memorial Days we live, but also that we maintain the very things they fought for—that we defend our Constitution and our rights through our own civic engagement and our participation in our democracy.

Every time we forget to vote, we fail to participate in our representative democracy, we fail the men and women who did not fail us. So let us honor them today and everyday, by carrying on their mission. It is up to us to work together, to build the perfect union they fought and died for, to make the United States a great nation every day in every way we can.

We must bridge the gaps that divide us, by finding ways to work together, because our divisions pale into insignificance, when measured against what our heroes have sacrificed for our way of life. By working together, we will continue to honor the men and women, to whom we owe …our independence, and who we are.

Click on the link below:
Memorial Day Speech – May 26, 2014

Kemnitz: Memorial Day Speech, 2014
Memorial Day is a tradition founded on our deep and complete gratitude to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms. In the 245 years since the Boston Massacre, we have proved faithful and persistent at venerating the men and women who gave their lives for our liberty. As Abraham Lincoln said 151 years ago at Gettysburg, “it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.” Since the end of the Civil War we have had a specific day to show our gratitude, a day when we suspend the ordinary getting and spending of our daily lives so we can devote ourselves to paying homage.

It has become almost a cliché to say that we owe our way of life, our very Democracy to these men and women. Our responsibility to our war dead is not simply that we honor them today and all the Memorial Days we live, but also that we maintain the very things they fought for—that we defend our constitution and our rights through our own civic engagement and our participation in our democracy. Every time we fail to participate in our system of democracy, we fail the men and women who did not fail us. To truly honor our heroes, we must act honorably ourselves; they have set a high standard, and truly honoring them means meeting that standard in our own behavior each and every day.

We should also remember that many of our greatest heroes gave their lives saving their comrades—some threw themselves on grenades so their buddies could live, others stayed at positions behind machine guns to cover their companies as they found safer positions, still others risk their own lives to help a wounded buddy to safety. For these greatest heroes, the lives of their fellow soldiers were worth sacrificing their own lives. And we should honor that sacrifice by paying particular attention to the well-being of their comrades who survived. We should be deeply embarrassed that our national government cannot do better for them, that the Veterans Administration in Washington is mis-funded, as it has been for decades, that men and women apparently are failing to survive when prompt and adequate treatment would keep them alive. And here in Orange County we should be deeply embarrassed that we are unwilling to make the small sacrifice of keeping Valley View county owned and thereby ensuring that it meets the needs of our local veterans and gives them a home of last resort for their last days.

So let us not be satisfied this Memorial Day by clichés, by empty words. We need to meet the test so ancient that the Romans had a phrase for it—facta non verba—deeds not just words. Let us honor our heroes today and everyday by carrying on their mission. It is up to us to build the perfect union they fought and died for, to make the United States a great nation every day in every way we can, to see to the comfort and well-being of their fellow soldiers who returned to us, often wounded in mind or body or both. Only in doing so, we will appropriately and meaningfully honor the men and women to whom we owe everything we have and are.


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