LITTLE ROCK – Monday is Memorial Day, and today I’d like to pay tribute to the Arkansans who have given their lives through military service to ensure that Americans continue to live in freedom.
Memorial Day 2020 will be different than any of us has ever observed. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to alter most of our traditions, including Memorial Day. This year, we can’t congregate for memorial services at cemeteries and churches. But we can still honor the memory of those who died on our behalf by remembering them and all those who are still willing to go to the front lines.
Since last Memorial Day, we have dedicated a new monument just outside the west doors of the capitol. It is in memory of those who have died in war and in memory of their survivors, the Gold Star families. This monument acknowledges that these families have had to move on with their lives even as they grieve their loss. Their sacrifice never ends.
The monument also is a promise to them that to the best of our ability, we will continue to fight for freedom at home and around the world. We hope that we will never need to add another name to this roll of honor of those who have died on our behalf. But if a situation requires it, we will take up the fight. We will find inspiration in their courage and valor. We will battle to preserve the liberty they bought with their lives.
Those who fight for us understand that serving others requires us to put the interests of others ahead of what we want. That has never been more evident than during this pandemic. Wearing a mask in public is perhaps uncomfortable and inconvenient, but we wear masks because that protects others.
Right now, every retail shop in Arkansas is open to do business. As we head into summer, we will be able to lift even more limits as we reengage our economy, while at the same time we continue to wash our hands frequently and keep a safe distance from others in public.
Because of Arkansans’ willingness to work together, we have been able to allow greater use of our state parks, with all their lodges, cabins, trails, lakes, and rivers. This is a good weekend to begin to explore our life under new circumstances. It’s also a good time to honor the sacrifice of those who went before us.
US and Arkanas Flags should be flown at half stff through Sunday in honor of COVID-19 victims, and Monday for Memorial Day.