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Memorial Day Thoughts

Every Memorial Day, I try to take some time to reflect on the reason for the holiday — remembrance and respect. Sure, it’s also the unofficial beginning of our beloved summers, with people across the country enjoying beaches, ball games, boats and barbecues. This year especially, after a year of quarantine, tragedy and destruction, those welcomed activities with family and friends on Memorial Day Weekend are certainly to be celebrated. But spending some serious time remembering those who sacrificed their lives for the benefit of our country’s future is a worthy and right thing to do this weekend.

We’re so engaged these days in debating and thinking about what’s not right with our country. Abe Lincoln would ask us, I believe, not “Do you have problems?” but “What are you doing about them?” As he wrote in these immortal words for his Gettysburg Address, after cousin fought cousin on that bloody field in Pennsylvania and one-third of those engaged in the fighting became casualties:

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The work will always be unfinished, and it will always be for the living to be devoted to it. May we together rise to that great task in 2021.

Peace.

Paul Grangaard, Chairman & CEO

P.S. I have found great inspiration through good and bad times over the years in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. When I learned that our looms here at Faribault could actually depict the entire text in full legibility, I asked our designers to put the whole speech and the President’s face and signature on a sofa throw. I keep it on my chair in my home office and I read it regularly. It seems the perfect product to feature this weekend.