Gates, Pace Call Memorial Day Time to Honor, Remember, Rededicate
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2007 The top U.S. military officer today urged men and women in uniform to honor Memorial Day by remembering those who gave their lives for the country and to rededicate themselves to service.
“This weekend is not only a time for us to reflect on the sacrifices that those who went before us have made, but on the current sacrifices of those in uniform,” Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.
Pace said it’s also an opportunity for those in the military to rededicate themselves to defending the U.S. Constitution and honor the legacy of the millions of troops who have protected the country’s freedoms for more than 200 years.
“There is fear on the battlefield, but I think the truth is that soldiers and Marines in battle fear most that they would either let their fellow soldier or Marine down or somehow let down the legacy that they have inherited,” the general said. “And this weekend is a chance for each of us who have the privilege of wearing the uniform to rededicate ourselves to our oath of office and to the legacy that we have inherited.”
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates joined Pace in noting the importance of Memorial Day.
“It’s a time to honor those who gave their lives in service to this country,” he said. “It is also a time to thank those who are currently serving and sacrificing here and overseas, and to their families who make daily sacrifices in service to our country.”
Gates said it’s also a time “to reflect on the dangers that threaten us, our freedoms and our liberties.”
The secretary noted that he will address the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2007 at its graduation tomorrow in Annapolis, Md. On May 30, he will speak to graduating U.S. Air Force Academy graduates in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“These young men and women represent some of our nation’s best and brightest who made a choice four years ago to serve at a time of war,” he said. “We are deeply indebted to them and to all the men and women who have stepped forward to defend our nation.”