As a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, Maura Sullivan served as a logistics officer in Fallujah, Iraq, and as a platoon commander and aide-de-camp in military exercises throughout Southeast Asia. She attended Northwestern University on an ROTC scholarship, graduating with a B.A. in Economics and History. She completed graduate studies at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and at Harvard Business School. On behalf of the American Battle Monuments Commission, she spoke at the Memorial Day Ceremony of the Margraten American Cemetery in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on May 26, 2013. A brief excerpt from her remarks appears below, followed by a link to the compete text of her remarks on that occasion.
“I am honored to be with you today representing the American Battle Monuments Commission. Established by the United States Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of the U.S. armed forces.”
“The journey that led me to be with you today began when I was a child-hearing the stories of my grandfathers who both served in World War II.”
“Years later, a summer training program at a Marine Corps base in Virginia would also compel me to follow in my family’s footsteps. The esprit de corps and camaraderie of the Marines were contagious. I couldn’t wait to be a part of the Corps. Eight years later, I left the active duty Marine Corps as a Captain. The opportunity to serve my country alongside her finest sons and daughters has been the greatest honor of my life.”
“You know, we live in a time of uncertainty, yet I remain inspired and hopeful.”
“First — is America’s next generation of leaders. Just four weeks ago, I traveled to Quantico, Virginia just outside or our nation’s capital and watched 42 new Marine Corps Second Lieutenants raise their right hands and swear an oath to ‘support and defend the constitution of the United States.’ These young Marine Corps lieutenants are no different than… …the others that lie here. They are selfless. They are brave. They are women of conviction and men of integrity. They possess a physical and moral courage beyond which most can fathom. They are Patriots. They believe in a greater good — in a cause much bigger than their individual humanity.”
“Second is each of you — two and three generations later, the Dutch people adopt graves into your own families, boy scouts placed 8,000 sets of flags on these graves this week, and there remains a wait-list 3,000 long to adopt a grave. Simply put, you have brought those lost from our families into your own and have committed to do so for generations to come.”
“Those that lie hear are our America’s greatest treasure. Those that raise their right hand today to serve are America’s greatest hope. And you — the people of the Netherlands — are among our country’s greatest friends, and by caring for our fallen, have become a part of our family.”