New Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway on Memorial Day: 'We will always be in debt to the fallen soldier'

Memorial Day 2016 recognized on the hard sands of New Smyrna Beach, Florida / Headline Surfer®New Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway delivers Memorial Day message / Headline Surfer®Editor's Note: New Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway, shown here in the inset with an American flag insignia, was asked for a copy of his 2016 Memorial Day speech, which he delivered on the sacred holiday on Monday in Riverside Park for publication in Headline Surfer®. Hathaway, a New Smyrna Beach native, who served as a city commissioner for 18 years until 2012, was elected mayor two years later. He is seeking re-election for another two years in the 2016 elections. Hathaway served in the United States Army Reserves, earning the rank of captain in the Quartermaster Corps, before he was honorably discharged. The main display picture in recognition of Memorial Day, was shot on the hard sands of New Smyrna Beach, among the most popular tourist destinations for the eclectic shops on Flagler Avenue, leading to the curling waves where it's a badge of honor for surfers nipped by a shark near the South Jetty, and home to the US Coast Guard station. Here is the text of what Hathaway said in his Memorial Day message:
 

New Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway spaks on Memorial Day / Headline SurferNEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- On this day of remembrance, we honor the bravest amongst us – those who stood up, carried the American Standard, and then came home embraced in that flag.

What do you say to a young wife whose husband won’t return from a foreign battlefield?

How do you console a grieving child whose parent paid the ultimate sacrifice for his or her nation?

President Abraham Lincoln, in his letter to a Ms. Lydia Bixby from Massachusetts, wrote arguably one of the greatest articulations of American gratitude to a grieving military mother – a woman who lost five sons in the Civil War – by writing:

“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

For those of us who are privileged to speak on the sacred things – events like today - it is not uncommon to draw inspiration from others - from poets, thinkers, and those gifted in the arts of oratory.

I think it is because we feel so inadequate in our words in attempting to measure the impact of days like today. 

Days like today are deserving of the best we can provide – in fact they are deserving of more than that.

We want our military families to know that their loved ones’ sacrifices are felt by us as well. We grieve with you, we shed tears with you, but more importantly – we are standing behind you.

It is incomprehensible to think of the horrors of war, of the pain, the suffering, the loss of life – it is incomprehensible to know what it is like to place your life in the hands of another and to put their life in yours.

It is incomprehensible to know what the last few minutes; the last few breaths must have been like for those who died on distant battle fields fighting wars for something far greater than themselves.

Some key lines in Mayor Jim Hathaway's Memorial Day message:

For those of us who are privileged to speak on the sacred things – events like today - it is not uncommon to draw inspiration from others - from poets, thinkers, and those gifted in the arts of oratory. I think it is because we feel so inadequate in our words in attempting to measure the impact of days like today. Days like today are deserving of the best we can provide – in fact they are deserving of more than that.

We want our military families to know that their loved ones’ sacrifices are felt by us as well. We grieve with you, we shed tears with you, but more importantly – we are standing behind you. 

It is incomprehensible to think of the horrors of war, of the pain, the suffering, the loss of life – it is incomprehensible to know what it is like to place your life in the hands of another and to put their life in yours. It is incomprehensible to know what the last few minutes; the last few breaths must have been like for those who died on distant battle fields fighting wars for something far greater than themselves.

Let us continue to honor the sacrifice of the men and women in our armed forces who answered the ultimate call for service.

Let us continue to honor them by honoring the families of the fallen. Let us, as a community, say, “what can we do to help?”

American flags line the beach in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on Memorial Day / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® / 
American flags line a stretch of the beach in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in observance of Memorial Day.
 

This sacred day should serve as a specific reminder to remember and honor our fallen heroes - but what about tomorrow?

And the next day?

Give charitably, volunteer your time, offer support, and give thanks.

We will always be in debt to the fallen soldier and their families – we will never be able to settle up with them.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make payment every day for the rest of our lives.

Further, let us continue to offer prayer, and all support possible to our men and women who are currently serving because as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

NSB Mayor Jim Hathaway / Headline SurferNew Smyrna Beach Mayor Jim Hathaway is shown after the Memorial Service, sponsaored by the local VFW, with City Commissioners Jason McGuirk (to his left) facing the camera, and to his right, Kirk Jones and Jake Sachs. Behind them is the New Smyrna Beach war memorial at Riverside Park.

Among key lines in Hathaways Memorial Day message:

We will always be in debt to the fallen soldier and their families – we will never be able to settle up with them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make payment every day for the rest of our lives.

Further, let us continue to offer prayer, and all support possible to our men and women who are currently serving because as Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

May God bless our fallen heroes, their families, and may He continue to bless the United States of America. Thank you all.

Previous-related coverage:

Jim Hathaway seekking 2nd term as mayor of New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®Jim Hathaway, New Smyrna Beach's native son, seeking 2nd term as mayor of seaside tourism city known for the charm

Posted Thu, 2016-05-19 11:19

 

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.