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Chairman's Memorial Day Message

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, May 11, 1998 – Since 1869, the Nation has consecrated this holiday to the memory of Americans who have died in war. Since then, many more American men and women have nobly fought and died, proving that our ideals and way of life will continue to be challenged and will be won anew only at extreme cost.

People throughout the world cite many reasons for America's greatness. First among these is our founding axiom that all men are created equal and free. Others praise our government institutions, economic might, or pre-eminent military strength. All of these make America an envied model, but they are more the result than the cause of greatness. Memorial Day provides an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on a true source of our greatness: A national spirit that imbues so many with the will to give what Lincoln called "the last full measure of devotion" to defend a cause that is larger than self.

On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the men and women of the world's finest armed forces, I encourage all Americans to set aside part of today to renew the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. May this day of remembrance stir both our national pride and our conscience, and cause us to cherish those principles for which so many gave their lives.

Gen. Henry H. Shelton, USA
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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