Illinois Senate Republicans officially opened their fourth annual Memorial Day Wall of Remembrance display in the state Capitol Rotunda on Thursday.
Joining Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady in opening the display was Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Chief of Staff Renysha Brown.
“This display is a somber memorial to America’s true heroes,” said Brady (R-Bloomington). ”Those we honor answered the call to protect us, and in doing so, gave their lives to ensure our freedom was preserved. We owe them our deepest gratitude and support.”
Located in the Capitol Rotunda, the Wall of Remembrance display is open to the public from May 24 to July 4, during normal business hours.
“As we gather to pay tribute to those brave American heroes who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom, we should also bear in mind the sacrifices of the families they left behind,” said Gov. Rauner. “We must show them every day that a grateful nation knows their sacrifice and honors their memory.”
Leader Brady encourages people passing through the Capitol Rotunda to take a moment to pause and thank these brave men and women for their sacrifices by placing notes of gratitude on the Wall of Remembrance.
“Today, we gather as a state to remember those who gave their lives for our great nation. We are reminded that freedom is not free. We will never forget these Illinois heroes who offered the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said IDVA Chief of Staff Renysha Brown.
Also addressing attendees at the dedication was Denise Williams, Illinois President of American Gold Star Mothers. Denise, whose son PFC Andrew Meari was killed in action on Nov. 1, 2010, in Afghanistan, stressed the importance of celebrating the memory of those who served.
“Even for those who have not personally lost a loved one in combat, Memorial Day should nonetheless be a day of great gratitude and honor,” said Williams. ”It should also be a day to celebrate the freedom we have, the freedom that was fought for by the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend.”