Iowa National Guard leader gives Memorial Day keynote speech

VAN METER — The leader of the Iowa National Guard, Brigadier General Stephen Osborn,  was the keynote speaker at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter.

Osborn talked about the long history of the Iowa National Guard in supporting the regular Army back to World War One. “And the National Guard over that timeframe provided combat units and essential reinforcements to the regular army, bolstering the forces and contributing to the Allied victory,” Osborn says. “The bravery in battle of thousands of Iowans — such as Edward Fleur, Donald McRae, and Harrison McHenry, all serving in France with the 168th Infantry Regiment of the Iowa Army National Guard when they were killed, defending freedom and fighting for their nation”

He says out our nation today stands together in gratitude for the selflessness and sacrifice of the men and women who fought and died for our nation. “We remember their courage, their strength, and their dedication. We remember their actions, their achievements and their words. We remember the lives cut short, and the futures that would not be,” General Osborn says.

Osborn says it is also important to remember those who supported the soldiers. “And as we remember those who laid down their lives, I would also like to take a moment to remember the loved ones they left behind. The ones who see these messages and are reminded that their mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives live on in the hearts and memories of so many,” Osborn says. 

He says it’s import to remember them on this Memorial Day, and every day. “We must honor the lives of those who sacrifice for our freedoms. We must keep them in our memories. We must keep telling their stories and keep their legacies alive,” Osborn says. “But most of all, we must continue to live and serve our lives with honor so that our nation may be worthy of their sacrifice.”

Osborn is a Davenport native who was named Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard in March after serving as the Deputy Adjutant General.