May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

As the child of parents who both served in the United States Armed Forces, I am deeply grateful for this annual day of remembrance of all those who have given their lives for our country. To those of you in our CSU community who serve, who have served; Thank you, on behalf of our entire community. And to those of you who are remembering today family members, friends, and colleagues who served, my thoughts are with you.

This year’s Memorial Day has been profoundly affected by COVID-19, of course, with previously scheduled parades and ceremonies either canceled or significantly scaled back all across the country. But we remember those we have lost—and we still celebrate and honor them, even though this year we cannot come together to do so.

As many of you know, I grew up near Washington, DC, not far from Arlington National Cemetery. I am sure some of you have been there, or at least driven past it during a visit to DC, while others have seen photographs. But the sheer size of Arlington is hard to explain—it’s larger in acreage than our entire Fort Collins campus. And it is impossible to capture the solemnity of its rows after rows of simple white headstones in photos or through the window of a car. One of my staff members, whose father is buried at Arlington, recalled recently the experience of following the ceremonial horses carrying the honor guard through the cemetery, and being struck by the clarity of the sound of the horses’ hooves on the ground, echoing off the marble slabs all around.

I am remembering Arlington National Cemetery today, and the countless places around the country where our men and women in uniform are laid to rest. These places are peaceful, beautiful, and powerful symbols of the great hearts of those who have given their lives for our country. We don’t need parades to remember those hearts, to honor them, and to be proud to have lived beside them.

Happy Memorial Day to all of you.