Key Policy Letters Signed by the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary
May 2004
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A Remembrance Ceremony for Schools
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Dear Educators:

The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by Congress to put the "memorial" back in Memorial Day. As a member of the Commission, I am writing to ask for your support to reclaim this noble holiday for its intended purpose of honoring those who have died in service to our great country.

As I write, Americans are learning of the death of Pat Tillman, the Army Ranger who left a promising career in the NFL to fight for the freedoms many take for granted. The Moment of Remembrance is for all the Pat Tillmans who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom.

Too many Americans have lost sight of the meaning of Memorial Day. In fact, the idea of the Moment was born in 1996 when children touring our Nation's capital were asked what Memorial Day means and responded, "That's the day the pools open."

On Memorial Day, May 31, Americans will observe a National Moment of Remembrance everywhere at 3:00 p.m. local time. The theme is "One Nation, One Moment." We need your help to gain the broadest possible awareness and participation among young people.

Please let teachers and students know about the opportunity to participate in a new American tradition simply by pausing wherever they may be at 3:00 p.m. for one minute to reflect on our fallen heroes. They can encourage their families and friends to join them. If they are driving at 3:00 p.m., they can simply turn on their vehicles' headlights. For schools that are in session after the holiday, teachers can ask students to recount how they observed the Moment of Remembrance. This may be appropriate to integrate into end-of-year classes and activities. A variety of tools are available at the official Web site,

I hope that all educators and students will join with the President and me in encouraging all Americans to honor the men and women who have died in service to our Nation and left us a legacy of service, a heritage of sacrifice, and the gift of freedom. Let us never forget.

Thank you for your support and participation.



Rod Paige

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Last Modified: 05/14/2004