The Debt of Infinite Gratitude


May 23, 2019

Howdy, Ags!

In just a few days, the second of multiple Traveling Aggies trips focusing on the 75th anniversary of D-Day will depart for Europe. Among the many historical sites these 47 Aggies will visit on their journey is the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-Sur-Mer where they will find these words from former French President René Coty, “We have not forgotten, we will never forget, the debt of infinite gratitude that we have contracted with those who gave everything for our freedom.”

As they walk among the 9,380 headstones of U.S. service members buried there who lost their lives on D-Day or in ensuing operations, they will pause to honor each of the 15 Aggies buried there. They will also pay tribute to the four Aggies whose names are etched among the 1,557 names on the Tablets of the Missing.

More than 953 Aggies gave their lives in service to our country during World War II, and restored liberty for millions around the globe. Drawing their last breaths in battlefields across Europe and the Pacific, they are remembered today and always on the Texas A&M campus in the Memorial Student Center’s Hall of Honor.

They and the almost 1,400 Aggies who have died in military service since the Spanish-American War remind us of the high cost of freedom. Across our campus, we honor their sacrifices, and most importantly, we remember the lives they led. Lives defined by our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service that placed a love of country and others above themselves.

As we observe Memorial Day, I encourage you to join with me and The Association of Former Students’ Board of Directors and staff in finding your own special way to honor our 1,400 Aggies and the more than one million Americans who have given all to our nation. May we all uphold the words of President Harry S. Truman in an April 1945 address to a joint session of Congress, who said, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”

With Deepest Gratitude,

Porter S. Garner III ’79

President and CEO

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