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160 Memorial Day Quotes to Honor Fallen Heroes

Last Updated: February 12, 2023 by Team

Memorial Day is, first and foremost, a sacred day focused on remembering the millions of brave heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

On Monday, May 29, 2023, Americans across the country will celebrate the brave servicemen and servicewomen who died defending our country. Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, often a weekend filled with family get-togethers, pool parties, parades, and backyard cookouts. But the true meaning of Memorial Day is a much more solemn occasion. It’s a day of remembrance to honor the sacrifice made by the men and women who have died during their service in the United States military.

While your Memorial Day weekend might be packed with family fun and summer activities—we’re big fans of a night of backyard camping or a classic backyard barbecue—we also think it’s important to pause the festivities to remember the real meaning and history of Memorial Day. In honor of that sentiment, we’ve compiled a list of Memorial Day quotes that will help express gratitude for the sacrifice so many have made in service to our country.

These 100 Memorial Day quotes deserve to be shared to remind us of our soldiers’ sacrifices every day, past and present, and also to help honor those who inspired such powerful words. But, to say thank you. It’s an honor and recognition of service we should have every day, not only on this occasion. “Memorial Day: Celebrate, honor, remember.”

160 Memorial Day Quotes

Top 10 Memorial Day Quotes

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” – Elie Wiesel

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai Stevenson II

“Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well.” – Jennifer M. Granholm

“We became a great nation also because every time our beliefs and ideals have been threatened, Americans have stepped forward to defend them.” – President Bill Clinton

“The essence of America, that which really unites us is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion. It is an idea, and what an idea it is—that you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.” – Condoleezza Rice

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – Harry S. Truman

“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world. A veteran does not have that problem.” – Ronald Reagan

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” – Thucydides

Short Memorial Day Quotes

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“Memorial Day: celebrate, honor, remember.”

“May we never forget freedom isn’t free.”

“Land of the free, because of the brave.”

“Join us today to count our blessings and stand proud.”

“Home of the free, because of the brave.”

“Fallen, but not forgotten.”

“Never forget the price we’ve paid for our independence.”

“No man is a man until he has been a soldier.” – Louis de Bernières

“Never was so much owed by so many few.” – Winston Churchill

“Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.” – Baltasar Gracian

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” – Benjamin Franklin

“We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.”

“In the aftermath, we are because they were.” – R.J. Heller

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale

“Here men endured so that a nation might live.” – Herbert Hoover

“Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” – Calvin Coolidge

“What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.” – Christopher Gadsen

“Let’s remember our fallen service members with pride this Memorial Day.”

Christian Memorial Day Quotes

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“May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn’t free.” – Sgt. Major Bill Paxton

“Memorial Day will always be an important day in the history of America—the day to remember with glory all of those who fought for our nation and sacrificed their lives.”

“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

“This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home. This is not Veterans Day, it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom.” – Tamra Bolton, in Parade essay

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

“Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as best he can, the same cause—honor to him, less only than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Freedom is secured every day by our men and women in uniform. We must build a future worthy of their sacrifice.” – Nancy Pelosi

“I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” – John Thune

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou

“I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” – Harriet Tubman

“I can do everything in my power to live a life that’s worthy of what it took in order to make it possible to be here at home.” – Pete Buttigieg

“While we can never fully repay the debt owed to those who lost their lives defending our nation, we must do everything we can to uphold our commitment to those who’ve worn the uniform of this great nation and to their families who have made significant sacrifices on our behalf.” – Sen. Tammy Duckworth

“May the memories of your daughters and sons give us the strength and motivation to continue working to make our country a better place.”

“Let us remember all our heroes who have left us while fighting for our country.”

“They never came back, their silence lives on. We remember the fallen this Memorial Day.”

“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” – Mary Roach

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.” – John McCain

“America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.” – Claudia Pemberton

“Freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan

“This Memorial Day, we remember those heroes who courageously gave their lives.”

“May each one of us take inspiration this Memorial Day from the patriotism of the brave soldiers who died for our country.”

“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.” – Robert A. Heinlein

“Let’s take a moment of silence to remember and honor the sacrifices of the thousands of men and women who gave up their lives for our country.”

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” – William J. Clinton

“Duty—honor—country. These three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” – General Douglas McArthur

“Each Memorial Day, we honor those who died for the United States. May their sacrifice be a constant reminder of things that matter.”

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Let their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” – Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

“The brave hearts never die… they sleep in the embrace of their soil.”

“Spirit, that made those heroes dare, / to die, and leave their children free, / bid time and nature gently spare, / the shaft we raise to them and thee.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them.” – Mitch Albom

“Remember our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. They are the reason that we are free.”

Memorial Day Quotes Thank You

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“We salute our fallen and give thanks for our freedom on this Memorial Day.”

“Today is the day to thank all those who died for our freedom—we will never forget their sacrifices.”

“This Memorial Day, we thank the fallen heroes of America who gave their lives to serve the nation.”

“Thank you to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

“Thank you to all those who have guarded my freedom and peace.”

“On Memorial Day, we thank all the servicemen and women who are no longer with us for protecting our country by giving away their lives.”

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” – St. Ambrose

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.” – George S. Patton

“In honor of those who fought for our freedom until their dying breath, we remember and thank them on this Memorial Day.”

“If you want to thank a soldier, be the kind of American worth fighting for.”

“If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.”

“As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one.” – Beth Pennington

“America stands strong thanks to the sacrifice of many. Today, we honor all who served and gave their lives to protect our freedoms.”

“The blood and sweat of our patriots sowed the seeds of the blessings of freedom and prosperity we enjoy today. May those brave heroes never be forgotten, on Memorial Day and every day.”

“America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor.” – Paul Tsongas

“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” – G.K. Chesterson

“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham

“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free…so other people would be also free.” – Rosa Parks

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan

“Take a moment this weekend to honor those who served our nation and are no longer with us.”

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

“They who for their country die, / shall fill an honored grave. / For glory lights the soldier’s tomb, / and beauty weeps the brave.” – Joseph Rodman Drake

“Let Memorial Day be a day to count our blessings and remember those who serve to protect our country and our freedom.”

“Join us this Memorial Day as we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

“In honor of Memorial Day, let us take inspiration from the brave soldiers who gave up their lives and become good citizens of our nation.”

“Whenever the world makes you cynical; whenever you seek true humility and true selflessness, look to a veteran.” – Barack Obama

“Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.” – Emily Potter

“I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” – Bob Riley

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.” – Wallace Bruce

“This Memorial Day, our deepest gratitude goes to the fallen men and women who gave the citizens of the United States a chance to make this world a better place.”

“This Memorial Day and every day, we appreciate all the great deeds and sacrifices done to grant us a chance to enjoy freedom.”

“On this day, take time to remember those who have fallen. But on every day after, do more; put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.” – Joseph Rodman Drake

“True patriotism is not manifested in short, frenzied bursts of emotion. It is the tranquil, steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai E. Stevenson II

“Real heroes never die. They always live in our hearts to inspire us, motivate us, and guide us in our lives.”

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

“Over all our happy country over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes–is our Army of the Dead.” – Will Carleton

“We appreciate all the great deeds and sacrifices of our fallen heroes that grant us a chance to enjoy freedom.”

“Today is a day to honor every patriot who shed his or her blood for the freedom of our country. Let’s bow our heads with respect in remembrance of all those men and women.”

“To those in uniform serving today and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.”

“Their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.” – Thomas Campbell

“Our flag doesn’t fly because the wind moves it, but because of the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”

“We owe so much to those fallen heroes that we can never repay. Remember them with honor this Memorial Day.”

“Their peace lives in our hearts. Honor America’s heroes by repaying them for what they did with your respect this Memorial Day.”

“Let us gather together in celebration and remembrance of our heroes who have fallen.”

“The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment.” – Judd Gregg

“The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul, are everything.” – George Marshall

“The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.” – Thucydides

Memorial Day Quotes For Loved Ones

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“To the loved ones we have lost: You are forever in our hearts and minds. Your service and sacrifice to our country will never be forgotten.”

“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” – Helen Keller

“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” – Sun Tzu

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” – Charles de Gaulle

“Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.” – Sun Tzu

“Our deepest gratitude goes to our beloved sons and daughters who gave us a chance to make this world a better place.”

“I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James A. Baldwin

“He loves his country best who strives to make it best.” – Robert G. Ingersoll

“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” – James A. Garfield

“As you enjoy this weekend, the unofficial start of summer, remember what Memorial Day is really about: Those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust, their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J. Savage

“On Memorial Day, we honor those that have fought for the American concept. Men and women that have sacrificed so much in order to defend the ideals that have made us a great nation.” – Vice President Kamala Harris

“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” – General Douglas MacArthur

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Nothing is more patriotic than laying down your life for the sake of your country. On Memorial Day, we remember those brave souls.”

“Take a moment this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who served our nation and are no longer with us.”

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” – Lee Greenwood

“On Memorial Day, we remember those fallen heroes who left a mark on our history.”

“On this day of remembrance, we once again renew our pledge: that just as the military leaves no one behind on the battlefield, we must leave no veteran behind when they come home.” – Nancy Pelosi

“Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.” – Daniel Webster

“A man is a patriot if his heart beats true to his country.” – Charles E. Jefferson

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Join us in praise of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the name of the United States of America.”

“It’s better to fight for something in life than to die for nothing.” – Gen. George S. Patton

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill

“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection as well as observation to appreciate it.” – Frederick Douglass

“…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.” – Ronald Reagan

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

“We all owe a debt to those brave heroes who fought for our country and gave their all. We can never repay them for their bravery and dedication.”

“May this Memorial Day bring you good memories of your son. We are forever grateful for his service to our country and his great courage.”

“No words can compensate for the loss of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives. We respect them, honor them, and forever remember them.”

“Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.” – Rodney Frelinghuysen

“The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” – George S. Patton, Jr.

“Remember all our uniformed heroes this Memorial Day who made the last sacrifices to defend our country.”

“Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” – John Adams

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” – Aristotle

“Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don’t know how far we can go.” – Bernard Malamud

“To the brave men and women we have lost: You are forever in our hearts and minds. Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

“This nation will remain the land of the free only as long as it is home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“The legacy of heroes — the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.” – Barack Obama

“We are forever grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of those who died for our country. May their courage and dedication never be forgotten.”

“There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” – Nick Lampson

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” – Cynthia Ozick

“Yours has the suffering been, the memory shall be ours.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We should strive to live by the liberties and principles for which our bravest soldiers fell.”

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller

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