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Memorial Day Letter From The CEO

Armstrong Steel Thanks Our Veterans For Their Service

I was in the grocery store yesterday shopping for our Memorial Day BBQ. The grocery store was full of kids running around, moms scolding them; dads and uncles were shopping for beverages and potato chips – I assume, trying to sneak them through the line before their wives noticed all the preservatives and frosty drinks they were shoving to the bottom of the carts. The over worked checkers continued to strain a weak smile to each customer.

Driving home, I noticed all the cars on the road – most late model, some expensive by any stretch. The people who owned them obviously have jobs. They were filled with singles, couples arguing over directions, elderly people who’ve been celebrating this Holiday for decades.

I arrived at my home – comfortable by world standards – modest by American standards; unloaded the food that was so plentifully available to me.

And I paused for a minute.

This life I lead, that we lead – it took sacrifice, it took guts, it took blood. And this Memorial Day is the day that I, as an American, needed to remember it. But there's more to it than that...

I began to think about how many lives were lost so I could have these freedoms, liberties, some would even say, indulgences. The number of people who made this possible should make every American pause for a minute. To quote Winston Churchill, “never was so much owed by so many to so few,” and WOW, that really resonated with me.

I can’t help but think of the brave men at Valley Forge who stood barefoot in the snow, starving, aching to be home with their families – or anywhere else, actually. They didn’t abandon their posts, however, or their beloved General.

Or the 20th Maine Infantry under Colonel Joshua Chamberlain who, along with his men, held the line at Gettysburg against a non-stop assault by a heavily armed Confederate force because they believed it was time to end the tarnish of slavery.

I especially thought of the brave men and women who are over-seas today – away from their families, their children, their lives; the soldiers who vigilantly defend our shores from tyranny, terrorism, and torment.

And while Memorial Day is a day to remember all U.S. service members – through the centuries – who perished in the line of duty, I believe it’s also a day to remember their families who survive them.

In light of this, I want to leave you with perhaps my favorite quotation of all time – taken from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Lincoln was a man of war, he understood, first hand, the impact of battle on the families of Americans. He reminds us – all of us – that it is our responsibility to support the care of military families, as well.

Lincoln said, “With malice toward none; with clarity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

These words are as important today as they were then.

And so while you spend time this Memorial Day with your families, I ask you to be mindful of other families, not so far away from your home, who are enjoying the day, as well –
only they’re doing it with one absent.

Have a Safe and Blessed Memorial Day

Ethan Chumley

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