DEMPSEY: There is nothing more profoundly American than Memorial Day.
Throughout our history, American sons and daughters have willingly laid down their lives to strengthen our nation and preserve its freedoms. Indeed, the greatness of this republic is founded in their selfless service. They rest quietly now, beneath chalk-white headstones here at home, or in battlefield graves where they fell, or in the depths of the oceans where they made the ultimate sacrifice.
This memorial day, let us take the time to come together as a nation and not only to pay tribute to those who have fallen but to pay tribute to the idea that inspired them. To the idea that there is something greater than oneself. To the idea that is America. One mother of a fallen Marine told me that she embraces this day. Grief shared is grief more easily borne, she said.
There’s comfort in the bonds that unite us with the past.
We can also find comfort in the bonds that make us Americans today as we honor the sacrifice of those souls who fought and died for us.
Let us affirm their legacy - by pressing on to secure the blessings of liberty for which they paid so dearly.
Let us stand strong by the men and women who defend that ideal that America is bigger than any one of us.
And let us stand strong by their families.
We ask all of our service members and their families here and at home to please stand and accept our deepest gratitude for their service.
On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a grateful nation, we say thank you!