Boehner: The things we hold dear 'weren't just handed down'

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Monday that a meeting with a constituent and World War II veteran reminded him of how many had to fight for "the things that we hold dear."

Roy Coleman, a vet from Springfield, Ohio, fought in Italy during the war and recently sat down with the Speaker in his Capitol office

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Though he lost his leg during the war, “many, of course, lost much more,” Boehner said in a video message on Memorial Day.

“The things that we hold dear weren’t just handed down; they were hard won by men and women — known and unknown — who died so we may live, who sacrificed so that our beloved Capitol and country would not crumble,” he said amid soaring strings and pictures of war memorials in Washington and Arlington National Cemetery.

Monday’s holiday should be a chance to begin paying respects, he said, even though that effort cannot be completed in a day.

“It's the vital task, possibly the highest for any citizen, to serve graciously those who fought for the great cause,” he said.

On Memorial Day, he asked for “the will and the wisdom to prove worthy of the fallen.”