Kinnison asked everyone attending the Memorial Day service to remember those who were affected by the tornadoes over the weekend.
“Over the last few days, over 300 soldiers and I have witnessed not only the devastation and destruction, but more importantly the overwhelming outpouring of support being shown by the people throughout this great area,” Kinnison said.
“As Americans, we do what we've always done. We look to the future. ... We are optimistic people who don't dwell in the sadness of the past, but we look for ways to be inspired. We look for ways to give hope.”
As for the holiday, there may be a few things that are unknown or often forgotten that Kinnison pointed out.
"It did not begin at the end of a war between nations. It was born at the end of a war that was fought between our own borders. A war fought between states. A war fought amongst brothers," he said.
Both sides suffered huge losses and 600,000 people died.
Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day and officially observed for the first time on May 30, 1868. It was not the anniversary of the battle, but a day to commemorate the war and the lives sacrificed in service, he said.
Flags are raised and lowered to half staff for the holiday to “remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of our country,” he said. At noon the flag is then raised to full staff and “the living rise up to their steed and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”
“In America, Memorial Day is much more than a day to mourn our service members. It is important to remember that the flag raised back to full staff represents continuation with honoring and celebrating life and service,” Kinnison said.
Kinnison read off the names of 15 warriors in the 45th IBCT who died protecting their country. Schulenberg also read off the names of veterans who died since last May including 10 from World War II, five from both the Korean and Vietnam Wars and one from the Persian Gulf War.
“We want to remember these folks who gave their life so we could all be here today,” Shulenberg said.