Prior to Memorial Day this year, it had been 10 years since New Canaan’s John McLane addressed a crowd that gathered to remember and honor our nation’s war dead.
A U.S. Army captain in Vietnam, McLane observed in a keynote address during VFW Post 653’s annual Memorial Day ceremony held Monday in Lakeview Cemetery that “much has changed, not all for the better.”
“Today, divisions are growing,” McLane told more than 350 residents gathered at the cemetery on a sunny, breezy morning following the Memorial Day Parade.
“Traditions and values are being called into question,” he continued. “Yet I would respectfully suggest that in the quiet, serene settings like this one all across America, citizens can still come together and feel a renewed sense of unity and purpose, harmony and hope. This is what makes today, Memorial Day, so special. We honor the people in New Canaan cemeteries, not for their fame and fortune, not for their achievements, but what they so generously gave: Their faithful service in, for some, their highest and last full measure of devotion.”
McLane called Memorial Day “the most expensive day on the calendar.”
“Throughout history, those who go into harm’s way have asked two questions,” he said. “First, will I die today?