Before I begin let me take a moment to thank our America Legion Post 122; our VFW Post 1349; our Patriot Guard riders, who stand ever vigilant in defense of our brothers and sisters; and all of our veterans & distinguished guests.

Ceremonies such as this one are happening all over our nation this morning.

Let me say that America is grateful.
Alabama is grateful.
Prattville is grateful for those who have served our nation so proudly.
For your devotion to America, I salute you.

We're gathered here to remember those who served, those who fought and those who gave their last measure of devotion for us & for our country.

Memorial Day means so many things to so many different people. To some, it's the unofficial beginning of summer; to some it's a three-day weekend. To those who have not realized that we have had so many heroes. So many. So many patriots...that have paid a price they have given us a lesson of life through their service and ultimately, their deaths.

They have given us a lesson in living love. Those who gave all did so out of love, love of their faith, love of their family, and love of their friends. They died for God and Country.

Our Nation is a testimony to their lessons...lessons of living love.

America stands safe today because of brave men and women ready to lay down their lives to face the fire at freedom’s call. We should thank God for them.

We should thank God for our early Patriots, whose footprint and DNA have led us and defined us as Americans. And most assuredly for our current day Patriots and their sacrifices.

Today is a small gesture, but a significant one. America should always keep a vigil for those who have not returned. Without their devotion our flag might not be flying here today.

Our freedom of religion --- we do not owe to the preacher man but to the patriot.
Our freedom of the press --- we do not owe to the reporter but to the patriot.
Our freedom of speech --- we do not owe to the poet but to the patriot.
Our right to vote or safe govern --- we do not owe to the politician but to the many, many patriots that have laid down their lives for God & Country, laid down their lives as a testimony to our American Way of Life.

It’s been said many times before, but bears repeating...Freedom is not free.

These men and women have given their last salute. Their obedience will inspire others to follow in their footprints. May the footprints that have led us to this point in time and place, be always an inspiration to us and our future leaders, torchbearers for American Freedoms.

So let freedom ring and may we all be reminded again that freedom is not free.
The National Moment of Remembrance was passed to ask us to remember and respect.

I will, again, remember and respect these heroes during a moment of silence at 3 p.m. today and hope you will, also. Again, I salute our Patriots on this Memorial Day on 26 May, in the year of our Lord 2014.

May we also be reminded by the red poppies. We wear these to honor those who died serving our nation during war.

I leave you today with a poem from 1915:

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

May God bless and keep you all. Thank you.

~Mayor Bill Gillespie, Jr.