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Memorial Day Message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2001 – Since 1868, Americans have celebrated Memorial Day to honor those who fought and died to preserve our freedom. We set aside one day each year to pause and reflect on the debt of gratitude we owe to the brave patriots who stood in the breach when the defense of liberty demanded the ultimate sacrifice.

Perhaps President John F. Kennedy captured the spirit of this holiday best when he said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." By honoring the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom, we ensure that their heroic spirit will live on in this new century.

Indeed, this spirit is alive and well in today's Armed Forces. In the mountains of Bosnia, along the DMZ in Korea, in the rocky Sinai desert, in the skies over Iraq, and the blue waters of the Pacific, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen stand watch -- day and night -- guarding freedom's frontier. Today, as in the past, they bear the burdens that make America's blessings possible for all its citizens.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and I join every American in honoring those who gave their lives -- and all of their tomorrows -- so that we might live in peace. We also salute the dedicated men and women of today's Armed Forces who actively preserve this noble legacy.

Gen. Henry H. Shelton, USA

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