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Kristian Nordby '22 Speaks at Needham Memorial Day Ceremony

Kristian Nordby '22 gave a speech at the Needham Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30, 2022. In addition to Kristian's parents, Kelly and Hans, and brother Evan '20, a group of fellow seniors and Assistant Headmaster Michael Nerbonne were also in attendance. Kristian will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year.

Kristian's Memorial Day speech can be read below:


Good morning,

Last fall, on November 11th, I stood here to thank our veterans for their great service to our country. Today, we gather under different, solemn circumstances: to pay our respects to those who made it their mission to protect the wellbeing of their fellow Americans, who fought tirelessly for the defense of their country, those who were willing to give their lives so that others may live theirs to the fullest extent. 

We stand here to thank and remember those who never had the chance to be honored as Veterans – American fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands. The few men and women who delivered us our freedoms by their courage and compassion. 

Still, it is important to remember on this day that these brave souls were more than soldiers. Back home, they led lives of character, and today their families will tell stories not about their time in camouflage. Spouses will remember how they met, and children will remember car rides and bedtime stories. We will remember the sound of their voice and even the small details of their lives.

With loved ones awaiting them at home, they chose not any ordinary occupation, but one of honor and courage, suitable only to the noblest Americans. 

We also pray for the souls of those who did not have anyone waiting for them back home – whose stories may not get to be told today. And so, on this day, in the silence of our hearts, we must commemorate those who did not have the opportunity to be remembered.

The last time I stood here I spoke of my desire to serve our nation, sparked by stories of my grandfather’s service in the Norwegian underground during World War II. Now, I prepare for Cadet Basic Training in four weeks at the United States Military Academy. When I accepted my appointment, my mom started hugging me once per day because soon, she’ll have very limited time to spend time with me. I understand her sadness to see me go, but I cannot even begin to understand her grief if she lost me forever. This is the grief that families across the nation feel on Memorial Day, some among us here today. So, in addition to honoring the sacrifices made by our fallen soldiers, we honor and remember those who have lost loved ones in the armed services, that they may find peace in their sorrows.

We often take for granted our privilege of living in a democracy in which all men and women are treated as equals, and in which all have a say in the progression of our government. Today, we remember that these freedoms were not free but paid for by the few who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Thank you.

Students and Assistant Headmaster at Needham Memorial Day Ceremony.