Marquette Mayor Tom Tourville's Comments

July 4th, 2007 rededication

Thank you for inviting me to speak at this Veteran's Memorial Dedication Ceremony. It is an honor and privilege to address you today as we celebrate what our great country is all about.

 We come to show our respect and appreciation for all the men and women who fought to preserve the freedom that we enjoy. We also thank the families for the sacrifices that they made while their loved ones served our country.

 Today is about freedom and service to country. Service to country is more than military; it is good citizenship. Being a good citizen is being one who participates in our democracy. Its our civic duty to participate in our government, starting with casting our vote. But that's just the beginning of who we are and what we can do to serve. As this year's parade theme states, Freedom isn't free. With freedom comes the responsibility we all have to get involved, to give back, to make our community a better place.

 You don't have to look far to see an example. This Veteran's Memorial came to be solely through the hard work and dedicated efforts of many volunteers. These citizens gave us this Veteran's Memorial as an acknowledgement to our city and our larger community of the sacrifices made by not only those who served in uniform, but also those who supported their efforts. Their families, friends, co-workers, educators, clergy, elected leaders, and so on.

 Another example is our Marquette parade and fireworks. People are stepping forward with their time, talent and generosity to do whatever it takes to celebrate this area's history and freedom. Call it patriotism, call it dedication or simply caring - no matter what you call it, the end result demonstrates the mark of a truly great community. Its the people, its who we are, and its what we do to help one another.

 Continuing this example, part of tomorrow's fireworks display includes a barge which is being donated by a local citizen. This barge happens to be located in Michagamme, so a second person donated a large trailer, and a third donated a truck. Late last night they trailered the barge to Marquette. And at 6:30am today on this holiday morning, yet another person brought a donated crane down to the lower harbor where these individuals worked together to lift the barge into our harbor.  Once again, time, talents, equipment and energy all being given to our community because citizens care.  They take pride in knowing that their efforts will help give us a spectacular fireworks to celebrate our freedom.

In our community, freedom gives us a wealth of opportunities to serve, to help, to combine our talents for the greater good. I've mentioned only a few examples but as you know there's a multitude more all around us. Adding all these together makes our Marquette community a great place in which to live, work, recreate and raise a family.

Freedom is a precious thing that is easy to take for granted. Today's ceremony clearly reminds us where it came from.  As citizens we humbly thank our veterans for handing us our freedom and we pledge in our own lives to give to our community as the veterans have to this great nation.

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