We have come together at our 55th Reunion to share our memories and enjoy each other’s company; sadly, many of our classmates and their family members could not be with us because of illness, and 165 who left West Point with us on 4 June 1957, have died, as have many of our own loved ones.  This service is to honor our classmates and loved ones who have died.

          I suggest we can all agree that death is a part of life, perhaps the last chapter of our life on this earth.  As some have noted, the journey to death starts the day we are born.  The difference for all of us is the path we follow and the length of time of that journey.  Clearly, as written in Ecclesiastes,

          For everything there is a time

          A Time to laugh and a time to cry

          A time to speak and a time to be silent

          A time to forget and a time to remember

A time to be born and a time to die

Now is our time to remember and honor those who are no longer with us. They have left us with many wonderful memories and we often speak of them.  They were good people and we will not forget them, their noble ideals, concerns, and accomplishments, and their contributions to our lives, to their families, and to our country.  May the memories we cherish inspire us to live our lives in a way that enables us to bequeath a heritage of equally precious memories when we join them at the end of our days.  May we enrich the lives we touch and bring happiness to all we love.

One way we can honor our deceased classmates is by giving them immortality.  Remembering them, as we are doing today, does that.  As long as we, the living, remember them they continue to exist, and so we join with their families in granting them immortality through the memory of their names and deeds.  Their names are printed in the Program.  Their deeds are in our memories and in the history of their lives.  As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us, as we remember them. 

Let us commit to also honoring them with our future actions and lives, and our continued dedication to the motto of our Alma Mater, “Duty, Honor, Country.” 

We pray that the souls of our deceased classmates and our loved ones will rest in peace and that we may continue to always honor them in the future, by remembering them.  We pray that when our time is done, our course on earth is run, we too will be so honored.

May God grant peace to the souls of the deceased, to us, to those who are selflessly defending us and our nation on the battlefields around the world today, and to all mankind.