A Special Memorial Day Speech

On Friday, I posted the Stalling family’s 1969 (or ’70) Memorial Day parade video as the weekly “Flashback.” It provided a unique look at Westport’s long-ago, yet timeless, community event.

Yesterday, Ed Stalling sent along another video.

In 1995 — the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II — his father Ed Sr. was grand marshal of Westport’s parade.

The ceremony was moved inside, to Town Hall, because of rain. The auditorium was filled — and silent — as Stalling recounted his service, and the crucial campaigns in Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.

He wrapped up his remarks with a poignant and powerful reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day.

Here is Ed’s speech. On the eve of this great holiday — as the ranks of our World War II veterans dwindle daily — his words are more important than ever.

13 responses to “A Special Memorial Day Speech

  1. This is a very powerful oral history that I hope the Westport Historical Society maintains for us in their oral history collection. I am so grateful to Ed Stalling, and to all the Marines, like my dad, for their sacrifices. And I am grateful to all the men and women in all the armed services who fought for us, and for the sacrifices that all the moms and dads made, whose children (many were only 17 like Ed) were ripped from their arms, because of the families’ dedication to sacrifice for their nation.

    When I hear the words of Ed Stalling, and think of the great alliances, international reparation efforts, and institutions that arose from WWII — the Marshall Plan, NATO, the 1949 Geneva Convention against torture, the 1948 Genocide Convention, the United Nations — I am re-committed to fight to ensure that such alliances, and institutions, and the principles that underpin them, are not undone by a home-grown demagogue. Memorial Day is a good day to remember those principles and the men and women who fought for them, so that we are always capable of discerning the difference between peaceful protestors and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

  2. Dave Stalling

    That was a day I’ll never forget. My brothers Bob, Tim and I, who also all served in the Marine Corps, marched right behind our father, all wearing our uniforms. It was a good, powerful speech. It’s amazing to be able to hear it again in his voice, which I haven’t heard for many years. I miss him; he was a great father, a great citizen and a great man. Thank you, Dan, for posting, and thanks, brother Ed, for finding and digitilizing.

  3. Thanks Dan. I cried. Mike

    Sent from my iPad


  4. I had chills when I heard Ed’s speech in 95 and chills again this morning watching this video..These guys are the real deal..Thank you..

  5. Tom Kashetta

    Wow !!!! Very moving……. What a great man with a wonderful family. Thank you !!!!!!

  6. Michael Calise

    It was truly a most spectacular speech from a great man!

  7. A great Marine, a great father, a great Scout leader, a great fisherman delivering a great speech. I was there that day, holding his grandson Alex on my lap, a memory that his daughter reminded me of just recently.

  8. Don Skelly

    A fine speech by a great man. I was lucky to be a Boy Scout in Ed’s troop and have so many fond memories. He taught us all, directly and by example. One great memory was hiking Mt. Marcy in New York.

  9. A very good man. I miss spending time with him at the marina.

  10. Scott Tiefenthaler

    Listening to that man’s experience should humble us all, make us proud of our fallen, our veterans and current service members, and remind us that despite the difficulties and pitfalls of the role that has been thrust upon our country, America is the greatest force for good over evil that the world has ever known. Second place isn’t even close.

  11. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    I deliberately waited until today to watch and listen. Powerful words from a humble man. All of the comments made are right on. We need to listen carefully and remember ( those of us old enough) and not allow mistakes to be made. I cried. May we never forget what was won for us and may we stand firm to see that it is never taken from us. We need to be aware how fragile what was won for us really is .

  12. Patty Kondub

    Thank you for sharing the video, and to your Dad, my Dad and all the veterans and people serving today.

  13. Ed Stalling

    Thanks for posting Dan – dad didn’t like talking about this (non of them did), but he really felt like people should know, which is why it’s good to share this today. Thanks everyone for your nice comments.