24 Memorial Day Quotes That Honor Our Nation’s Heroes

UPDATED: May 26, 2023
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2020
a field of flags for memorial day

Who would we be without the individuals who gave their lives for the betterment of ours? What would we have if not for the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom? On May 29, we recognize the bravery of all those who have died while serving our country. Let us honor the memory of our fallen heroes with these quotes for Memorial Day.

Quotes for Memorial Day that honor our heroes

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” 

Helen Keller

“Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice, and we must. We must honor it in our own lives by holding their memories close to our hearts, and heeding the example they set.” 

Barack Obama

“May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn’t free.” 

Sgt. Maj. Bill Paxton

“Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” 

Mary Roach, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” 

Elie Wiesel

“We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.” 


“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.” 

Joseph Rodman Drake

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” 

Theodore Roosevelt

“For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” 

James A. Garfield

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” 

Maya Angelou

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” 

George S. Patton Jr.

Quotes for Memorial Day

“Home of the free, because of the brave.” 


“America without her soldiers would be like God without his angels.” 

Claudia Pemberton

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” 

John F. Kennedy

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” 

Elmer Davis

“This freedom of which men speak, for which they fight, seems to some people a perilous thing. It has to be earned at a bitter cost and then—it has to be lived with. For freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” 

Mark Twain

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” 

Adlai Stevenson II

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” 

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Quotes about heroes

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” 

Joseph Campbell

“Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion.” 

Calvin Coolidge

“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” 

Bob Dylan

“Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.” 

Bernard Malamud

This article was updated May 2023. Photo by Irina Chebs/Shutterstock

Madison Pieper is the Multimedia Content Producer for SUCCESS. With a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University, she has a passion for creative storytelling both on and off the camera. Outside of work, Madison loves figure skating, fashion and spending time with her friends and family.