75 Best Memorial Day Quotes & Captions To Honor Those Who Gave Their Lives For Our Country

Say "thank you" to our military service members and veterans on Memorial Day with these respectful quotes and Instagram captions.

Memorial Day quote aspi13 / 123rf

Memorial Day is here, and while we're looking forward to a long weekend of (hopefully) warm, sunny summer days, sizzling barbecues, and gathering with our family and friends, we cannot forget the sacrifice so many men and women in uniform have made for our freedom.

We've gathered the best Memorial Day quotes and captions about heroes to help celebrate and say "thank you" to America's military service members who have died in service.


RELATED: 5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Our Veterans, In Honor Of Memorial Day

Let these hero quotes remind us of the sacrifices these men and women (and their families) make for the greater good.

Memorial Day Quotes

1. "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." — Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale Memorial Day quote


2. "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." — Christopher Reeve

3. "To be heroic is to be courageous enough to die for something." — Criss Jami

4. "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." — Winston Churchill

5. "Don't forget who your heroes are, what they mean to you, and why they mean that to you." — Gale Harold

6. "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." — Joseph Campbell

7. "Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments." — Kevin Costner

8. "Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me." — Mr. Rogers

9. "One lives in the hope of becoming a memory." — Antonio Porchia

10. "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." — John F. Kennedy

John F Kennedy Jr. Memorial Day quote

RELATED: 55 Quotes About Death From Celebrities We've Loved — And Lost

11. "And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice." — Ronald Reagan

12. "Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well." — Jennifer M. Granholm

13. "Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future." —​ Elie Wiesel

14. "May we never forget freedom isn’t free."

15. "The brave die never, though they sleep in dust, their courage nerves a thousand living men." — Minot J. Savage

16. “The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment." — Judd Gregg

17. "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die." — G.K. Chesterton

18. "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." — Elmer Davis

19. "Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." — Theodore Roosevelt

20. "Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death." — Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu Memorial Day quote


21. "So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good." — Helen Keller

22. “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom." — Bob Dylan

23. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — Ronald Reagan

24. “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels.” — Claudia Pemberton

25. "Home of the free, because of the brave."

26. "The legacy of heroes — the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example." — Benjamin Disraeli

27. “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.” — Elie Wisel

28. "Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion." — Calvin Coolidge

29. “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.” — William J. Clinton

30. "Duty, honor, country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur Memorial Day quote

31. "Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours." — Wallace Bruce

32. “Veterans are a symbol of what makes our nation great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.” — Rodney Frelinghuysen​

33. "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

34. “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” — Benjamin Disraeli

35. "Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." — Franklin D. Roosevelt

36. “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” — Charles de Gaulle

37. “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” — St. Ambrose

RELATED: 12 Lessons From Military Couples That Will Make You Better At Love

Memorial Day Instagram Captions

38. "For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue." — James A. Garfield

39. "We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." — Cynthia Ozick

Harry S Truman Memorial Day caption


40. "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices." — Harry S. Truman

41. "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." —​ Adlai Stevenson II

42. “Never was so much owed by so many few.” — Winston Churchill

43. "May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn't free." — Sgt. Major Bill Paxton

44. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

45. “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.”— John Thune

46. "As we set today aside to honor and thank our veterans, let us be mindful that we should do this every day of the year and not just one." — Beth Pennington

47. “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur

48. "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

49. "Let their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored." — Daniel Webster

50. "Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay." — Barack Obama

Barack Obama Memorial Day quote

51. "Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it."

52. “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

53. "The patriot's blood is the seed of freedom's tree." — Thomas Campbell

54. “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.” — Gen. George S. Patton

55. “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.” — Bob Riley

56. “Over all our happy country – over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes– is our Army of the Dead.” — Will Carleton

57. “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” — Jeff Miller

58. "It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle." — Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

59. “There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country.” — Nick Lampson

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

Mary Roach Memorial Day quote


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

62. “What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.” — Christopher Gadsen

63. "A man is a patriot if his heart beats true to his country." — Charles E. Jefferson

64. “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” — John Adams

65. “If you want to thank a soldier, be the kind of American worth fighting for.”

66. “To those in uniform serving today and to those who have served in the past, we honor you today and every day.”

67. "It's better to fight for something in life than to die for nothing.” — Gen. George S. Patton

68. "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." — Adlai Stevenson

69. "I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." — James A. Baldwin

70. "You will never do anything in this world without courage." — Aristotle

Aristotle Memorial Day quote

71. "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

72. "A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway." — Christopher Reeve

73. "You know, heroes are ordinary people that have achieved extraordinary things in life.” — Dave Winfield

74. “A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.” — Plato

75. “A hero is a man who does what he can.” — Romain Rolland

RELATED: 2 Things You Can Do To Help Military Families Every. Single. Day.

Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor based in New York City who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.