A Silent Hymn to the Fallen - Sunday, May 29, 2016 Memorial Day Special
Here at the historic West Point Cemetery at the United States Military Academy, we remember and reflect upon the service and sacrifice of those who have served our nation since its founding.
The cemetery is on a beautiful promontory overlooking the Hudson River as it flows endlessly into the Atlantic Ocean, reminding us that life, with all its bends and rapids, rolls on just as surely to our final resting place. It is calm and peaceful here today—a poignant contrast to the memories and images of war evoked by the names, gravestones, and monuments scattered throughout this cemetery.
It has been said that sacrifice makes things sacred. If that is true, then military cemeteries like this one are among the most sacred places on earth. For here lie the remains of valiant men and women who sacrificed all earthly comforts to defend their country and those precious principles of liberty and freedom.
Among the oldest graves in West Point Cemetery are those belonging to soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War—long before the site was officially designated as a military cemetery in 1817. In the nearly 200 years that followed, this has been the resting place for well-known generals, high-ranking officers, Medal of Honor recipients, and noted leaders of every American war. But most of the 8,000 gravestones in this cemetery mark the burial sites of the rank and file, the common soldiers, the brave patriots and West Point graduates who quietly and valiantly offered their uncommon service to their country. It is the combined sacrifice of all of these men and women that has made this place a sacred, peaceful memorial, a silent hymn to the fallen.
Perhaps the mission statement of the West Point Cemetery expresses it best: “To deliver the FINAL SALUTE to those members of the US Corps of Cadets, its Faculty, Staff, and those West Point Graduates who have dedicated their lives in the service of this nation. We strive to commemorate and memorialize these Graduates and to care for their final resting place in perpetuity. May it be said, ‘Well done; Be thou at peace.’”1
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. West Point Cemetery website, usma.edu/visiting/sitepages/west%20point%20Cemetery.aspx.
May 29, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,524
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Dallyn Vail Bayles
God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand
George W. Warren; arr. Mack Wilberg
The Mansions of the Lord, from We Were Soldiers
Nick Glennie-Smith; arr. Michael Davis
God Bless the U.S.A.
Lee Greenwood; arr. David Schmidt
American folk hymn; arr. Mack Wilberg
A Tribute to the Armed Services
Medley arr. Lloyd Larson