Memorial Day may be the holiday kick-off to summer, but it’s worth remembering what it's really all about: acknowledging those who have fought and died for our country. While preparing the barbecue and spreading on the sunscreen, take a pause to reflect on the meaningful sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of American troops who’ve died in battle with these patriotic Memorial Day quotes.
Each of these statements pays tribute to those who gave their life for our freedom and what that means to the liberties we enjoy today. And those feelings are worth sharing. Whether you post one on social media, tell a friend, or decorate a gravestone with a note including one of these thoughtful quotes, you’ll help others remember that this Memorial Day weekend isn’t just about fun in the sun. It’s about those who gave us this privilege.
Patriotic Memorial Day Quotes
It’s hard to fathom the sacrifice those who have died in battle have made. Because of their gift, we get to enjoy freedoms few in other parts of the world have ever known. These quotes thoughtfully express those feelings.
- “Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.” — Baltasar Gracian
- “Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.” — Emily Potter
- “America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor.” — Paul Tsongas
- "Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." — FDR
- "Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." — Unknown
- "And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb a beauty weeps the brave." — Joseph Rodman Drake
- "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."— George S. Patton
- "The patriot's blood is the seed of freedom's tree." — Thomas Campbell
- "Home of the free, because of the brave." — Unknown
- "We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue." — James Garfield
- “Never was so much owed by so many few.” — Winston Churchill
- "Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours." — Wallace Bruce
- “Over all our happy country – over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes — is our Army of the Dead.” — Will Carleton
- “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.” — Claudia Pemberton
- “We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” — Barack Obama
Happy Memorial Day Quotes
Memorial Day is such a family holiday. It’s a time to gather with the ones you love and celebrate together. These quotes joyfully express raising a glass to freedom as a community.
- “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” — Adlai Stevenson II
- “Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” — Mary Roach
- "America is a tune. It must be sung together." — Gerald Stanley Lee
- "Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten." — David Ogden Stiers
- “The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
- “Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.” —Anthony Brandt
- “The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” — Og Mandino
- "America is another name for opportunity." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial Day Thank You Quotes
It’s impossible to fully thank the families of fallen soldiers. But these great orators remind us that it’s worth trying.
- “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” — Billy Graham
- “The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.” — Thucydides
- “There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” — Nick Lampson
- “The brave die never, though they sleep in dust, their courage nerves a thousand living men.” — Minot J. Savage
- “Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go.” — Bernard Malamud
- "How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes." — Maya Angelou
- "We don't know them all, but we owe them all." — Unknown
- "No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks." — St. Ambrose
- "Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay." — Barack Obama
- "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." — John F. Kennedy
Famous Memorial Day Quotes
So many remarkable words have been said about Memorial Day and the sacrifices it honors. These are some of the most well known and beloved quotes.
- “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” — Bob Dylan
- “Their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” — Daniel Webster
- “Here men endured that a nation might live.” — Herbert Hoover
- "Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be." — Douglas MacArthur
- "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." — John F. Kennedy
- "Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility." — Eleanor Roosevelt
- "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." — Benjamin Franklin
- "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."— Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." — Mark Twain
- “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” — William J. Clinton
- "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." — General Douglas MacArthur
This Memorial Day weekend, make time for fun but also make time to stop, reflect, and give thanks for all the freedoms Americans get to enjoy because of those who gave so much.
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