Boca Raton, FL 2166

Memorial Day Speeches

MEMORIAL DAY 27th may, 2013 at Boca Raton Cemetery

Memorial Day 2013, a day of tradition, a day to honor the memories of our fallen police officers, firefighter and soldiers. A day of remembrance and what a better way to honor and remember our fallen soldiers then to be a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, which states "Here rests in honored Glory an American Soldier know but to God".

Here lie the remains of soldiers from World War I, World War II, Korea and an empty crypt for Vietnam. These soldiers unable to be identified and returned home to loved ones. The Vietnam crypt remains empty due to the advancement in DNA testing, enabling the remains to be identified. The Vietnam tomb now reads "Honoring and keeping faith with America's Missing Servicemen"

What better an honor for a soldier than to qualify to quard this American Tradition. These soldiers give a lot of their lives for this honor. Although there is no required time line, these soldiers must have an unblemished service record; meet rigorous physical training requirements, devout several hours a day to marching, rifle drill and uniform preparation. Every Sentinel (soldier) is expected to be completely versed in the history of both to Tomb and Arlington National Cemetery.

The Sentinel takes 21 steps in each direction, taking 21 seconds, alluding to the 21 gun salute, the highest honor given any military personnel. Their shoes are of equal height form sole to heal which gives a fluid motion to his walk. They wear moistened gloves to prevent losing their grip on their rifle which is always on the shoulder away from the Tomb.

When a Sentinel passes all requirements they are given The Silver Identification Badge temporarily. This badge is an upside down laurel-leaf wreath surrounding a depiction of the front of the tomb with Peace, Victory & Valor portrayed in Greek figures & the word Honor Guard is below the tomb on the Badge. This badge is worn temporarily until the Sentinel has served honorably for 9 months. They then are awarded it permently, but it can be taken away even after they no longer serve for inappropriate conduct. The 500th badge was awarded in early 2002.

What a better honor or way of serving Our Country. Remember to thank a veteran or a family member of a fallen solider; they have given part of their life or their life so we can be free.

Linda Barie ER

MEMORIAL DAY May 28th 2012, at Boca Raton Cemetery

Hello to all Americans. It's Memorial Day, the day that many feel is the start of summer. But we, as true Americans, understand this day is to remember those who have died in our nation's service.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was first observed on May 30, 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. While all of the northern states recognized this day, the southern states refused to acknowledge it until after World War I (when it was changed to honor those who died in any war).

It was Moina Michael who started the wearing of red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving our nation during war. She wrote a poem:

We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

On this Memorial Day, let us all, remember the true meaning of this day and give thanks for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the defense of our country and our right to be free.

Should you want to see a monument to these brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, who gave their lives for you and me; then look around! It is in your faces and in your hearts.

Dave Hanize ER

Remembering Our Nation's Veterans on Memorial Day may 30th 2011
at Boca Raton Cemetery

Since 1917, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has demonstrated its compassion for the veterans of our armed forces through a number of programs and activities. The Elks realize that in every state, city, town, and village in our nation there is a hospital, nursing home, or other Veterans Administration (VA) medical facility that houses veterans deserving the utmost respect. The Order's history of caring for veterans is something of which every Elk is proud, and that pride shows permanently in the Elks National Veterans Memorial, an awe-inspiring monument on Chicago's lakefront. Dedicated in 1926 to the memory of those who had fought in World War I, the memorial was rededicated in honor of the men who served in World War II. Rededications followed in 1976 for the pa-triots of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and in 1994 for the men and women who have served in all of our nation's conflicts since.

In Defense of the Nation

In times of war and international conflict, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has made considerable contributions to the nation's armed forces.
The Order considers its work done to aid in the defense of the nation as one of its proudest and most lasting achievements.

World War I

Elks patriotism and generosity helped the nation to victory in World War I. In 1917, the Grand Lodge allocated $2 million to finance efforts to assist U.S. sol-diers. The Order, organized and equipped the first two base hospitals in France. And to accommodate the maimed and wounded, the Elks built a 700-bed Recon-struction Hospital and gave it to the War Department in 1918. This was the first of what were to become the Veterans Administration medical facilities.
During the war, the Salvation Army was severely handicapped in its great efforts to aid servicemen by a lack of funds. To make sure that this work continued, the Elks undertook campaigns to raise funds for the Salvation Army, and on many occasions the Elks assumed the entire coast of these undertakings.
In addition, at Christmastime in 1918, the Order gave the Salvation Army $60,000 to continue its programs. Following the war's end, the Elks made 40,000 rehabili-tation, vocational, and educational loans to disabled veterans who were ineligible for government help or who were waiting approval of their applications. This service was so effective that the government followed the Elks' example and established a revolving fund that was the precursor of the GI Bill. More than 70,000 Elks served in the armed forces during World War 1. More than 1,000 made the supreme sacrifice.

World War II

Throughout World War II, the Elks contributed to the war effort by providing for members of the armed forces both at home and abroad. By the time hostilities ceased, the Grand Lodge had spent more than $1.5 million, while local lodges spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more to provide assistance to our men in uniform. During World War II, Elks lodges spearheaded local recruitment efforts, directly helping to enlist more than 142,000 men into the armed forces as well as thousands of construction specialists who dramatically aided the war effort. Ad-ditionally, more than 400 lodges conducted refresher courses that qualified thou-sands of young men for training as army flying cadets. The Order also realized the need to boost the morale of servicemen stationed far from home. Across the country, the Elks sponsored 155 Elks fraternal centers, where GIs were invited to relax, socialize, and enjoy the hospitality of the Elks.

Korea and Vietnam

When war broke out in Korea in 1950, the Elks responded by sending gift packs to those serving their country as they had done in World War II. In 1951, the secretary of defense appealed to the Order for help in procuring blood for the wounded. Within a few months, Elks lodges obtained more than half a million pints. During the Vietnam War, the Elks again answered the call by beginning the Letters from Home campaign. Elks members from across the country flooded our young servicemen and women with letters expressing gratitude for the sacrifices they were making on behalf of the nation. In addition to the letters, the Order provided care packages to soldiers.

Desert Storm Iraq and Afghanistan

As in previous conflicts, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks stood ready to aid the men and women of the U.S. armed forces when the Gulf War com-menced. Once again, the Elks mounted a letter writing campaign to thank these patriots for their dedicated service, and gift packs for soldiers were provided as they had been in the past. And now the Elks have stepped forward yet again to help our armed forces. In February, 2003, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission announced a program of mobilizing an "Army of Hope" to assist the families of Military Reservists and the National Guard who have been called to active duty during this time of crisis. The "Army of Hope" has many facets and literally any activity that supports our troops and their family falls under this vital program. Lodges are partnering with local and state organizations to adopt units and families to help them through these trying times. The response from our members and non-Elks has been overwhelming. Our elected government officials at the local, state and national levels are greatly impressed, and have responded favorably to our initiative Through these programs and many others, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has truly established itself as a leading force in promoting the values that help shape and strengthen the United States. And that is why the Order made a pledge that "So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them."

Don Sullivan ER

MEMORIAL DAY May 30, 2005 at Boca Raton Cemetery

Good morning. My name is Dave, and I represent Boca Raton Lodge #2166 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. We are here today to pay homage to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, held high the flag and lifted the cause of liberty.

In the past we stood in unity, defiant and determined in the face of anyone who would challenge our commitment to the freedom for which our loved ones paid this ultimate sacrifice, and for which we are the beneficiaries. Let us not forget them on this Memorial Day.

The Elks wish to share a prayer for peace throughout the world and become united by renewing a pledge to aid widows, widowers and orphans of our fallen heroes. And let us not forget the thousands of disabled veterans who continue to suffer the price of freedom even today. Now we look to the heavens and pray that we will see soon an end to the crippling, suffering and death of war. Let it be known that we are not here to honor war, but to honor those who died in conflicts and wars.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, they served and fought and died so that we might be safe and free. Grant them, O Lord, eternal peace and give them the victory. Amen

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an honor and a privilege to speak here today. Please feel free to visit our lodge after this service to sign a book of remembrance for your loved ones.

Thank you, and God bless.

Dave Gebhardt, ER

MEMORIAL DAY May 26, 2003 at Boca Raton Cemetery

Mayor Abrams, honored dignitaries, friends and citizens of Boca Raton, Florida.

I am honored to be asked again to represent Boca Raton Elks Lodge #2166 in this ceremony that has been held every year around the United States since its inception in 1868.

How many of you know what Decoration Day was? Memorial Day as we know it today was originally called Decoration Day. It was started to honor the dead soldiers from the Civil War. Today we are here to honor not only the departed military of this nation, but also the departed military and civilians of all the nations on earth that have died for the cause of freedom and democracy.

Last year we gathered here and spoke of the tragedy in New York on September 11, 2001. This year I stand here and ponder the consequences that have fallen on the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq, nations that support terrorism and are jealous of the freedom that our country has.

Last year I spoke of my family?s history in the military. Both my daughter and son were fighting the war in Afghanistan. Today my daughter is in Iraq and my son is on an aircraft carrier off the coast of North Korea.

I asked this question last year and I?m going to do it again. How many of you have family or friends in the military? Are you proud of that? I?m proud of that too, but I see something here today that I am even more proud of. Before telling you what it is in my final comments, I have an invitation to give to all of you.

Both Commander Hervey of American Legion Post #277 and I would like to invite you to either or both of our meeting places for lunch and refreshments after the ceremony today. The American Legion is located at 141 N.W. 20th Street and the Boca Raton Elks Lodge is located at 1395 N. Federal Hwy.

Freedom is not free. Freedom has to be bought. The thing is, you cannot pay cash, write a check or put a few days of freedom on your credit card. Freedom has to be bought with people, like these politicians who are sitting on my right who can negotiate policy for our nation and other nations. But the biggest price we have to pay is the lives of citizens who believe in freedom and democracy, and it is an ongoing interest payment that will never end.

Do you know what I am really proud of today? I am proud of these young men and women who presented the flag today and all of the military organizations all over the United States, whether they be Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines. In a time of war, they see that in the future there will still be a need to continue to defend the freedom that we have now. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the future General Powells, the General Schwartzkoffs and the General Franks. I salute you. On each Memorial Day remember the living as well as the dead, who have made it possible for us to come together on days like this and express ourselves in freedom.

Thank you for having me here today. God Bless America!!!

Denis Schumacher, ER

MEMORIAL DAY May 27, 2002 at Boca Raton Cemetery

Mayor Abrams, dignitaries, friends and citizens of Boca Raton.

On this day, we honor the memory of those who have died while in military service of the United States of America. It is also fitting that we remember all those who have died for the cause of Freedom, whatever country they are from; for we are indeed all one family, and we share each other's common destiny on this planet that God created for us. Likewise, we think of those who died believing they were fighting for freedom, though the political leaders in their command may have had other intentions in mind. Our thoughts also turn to those who died defending the cause of truth and virtue, whether or not they donned the uniform of their respective countries. There have been many heroes down through the ages, both celebrated and unkown, who have given their all for the sake of a better world. May we go forward, building on the legacy they left behind and drawing from the courage they exhibited, to bring to us all a society of freedom and peace. The enemies of freedom have provided us with obstacles that have made us strong. Today we honor the many lives that have been lost in the battles that have been fought, that peace and freedom might prevail. Today, we also recognize that there may yet be many lives lost, for not only are we closer to achieving the ideal society, but the enemies of freedom, the terrorists, have also never been closer to achieving their goal.

How many of you have friends in the military? How many of you have family or relatives in the military? Are you proud of that? Is that a scary thing? I come from a proud family. My grandfather served in the army during WWI in France and is resting now in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota. My father served in the army during WWII in Japan. I served in the Navy during the Vietnam Conflict. But I have never been as proud, and scared, as I am right now. I have a daughter in the navy who is flying spy missions, as I speak here today, over Middle East nations, to retain the freedom and privileges that our great nation has earned. I have a son in the navy, stationed on the USS Carl Vinson. On September 11 of last year that ship was sitting off the coast of Pakistan. He helped to launch over 400 air express flights to deliver much deserved packages to the enemies of freedom in Afghanistan.

Yes, I am proud, and scared, like many of you.

As this war comes to a head, there will be many who will lay down their lives in defense of truth and freedom. May we be faithful to the legacy we have been given, so that truth and freedom may prevail. Thank you, and God Bless you all.

Denis Schumacher, ER