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Dr. Hamre's Remarks at the Seventh Annual No Greater Love Remembrance Ceremony

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre
February 22, 1998

Dr. Hamre: Thank you Admiral Mayer.

Ambassador Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, thank you for being here, Ambassador Howell, Ms. LaSpada, and most important to our honored family members and guests, I thank you all on behalf of President Clinton, on behalf of Secretary Cohen and all of the men and women of the Department of Defense, for remembering this day the fallen heroes of Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Provide Comfort.

We gather here today to remember and honor the men and women who fell in the line of duty -- each one a patriot, each one a hero, each one with a story of courage. Each life then, and each tombstone now, telling a story of sacrifice.

Those who we remember today would rather have lived for those who loved them. They would rather be sitting here with us rather than lying here around us. Instead they died in service to America and to America's friends. They lived and died for ideas that are the bedrock of America -- ideas that are at once ancient and yet fresh -- peace, freedom, liberty, opportunity.

In their sacrifice they sustain now and into the future everything that is noble about America.

George Washington once wrote: "Impress upon the mind of every man, from the first to the last, the importance of the cause and what it is that they are fighting for."

The men and women we remember today knew the importance of their cause and what they were fighting for. They understood that their purpose was much greater than the defense of our allies and the economic lifeline of the world.

They knew that freedom and peace and liberty were causes worth that ultimate sacrifice. And they knew that ruthless tyrants in distant lands threaten the peace and freedom and liberty of all, initially to neighbors, but ultimately to us.

Events of the last months remind us again that this remains a time of peril. The self-same tyrant who brought this world to war eight years ago, today again brings fear and danger. His regime threatens stability of his region and ultimately the security of all of us.

We pray this day that diplomacy succeeds. We pray this day that reason prevails. We pray this day that our forces return intact. We pray this day that no new graves are added on these green hills.

But we cannot now abandon the cause that demanded the sacrifice of those we remember today. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines serve this hour in the Middle East, in Bosnia, in Haiti, in Kuwait, in Korea and they serve to the honor and memory of our fallen heroes. We honor their memory best by standing firm now, ready to renew the struggle for peace and freedom and liberty.

Abraham Lincoln spoke of the 'last full measure of devotion' when he described the fallen at Gettysburg.

The measure of those who fell in the Gulf has been taken, but our devotion is unabated.

The 30th chapter of the book of Isaiah, verses 29 through 31, speaks of how God "Gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint."

We remember today those that found that strength. And in that strength they blessed America and freedom-loving people throughout the world. The have mounted up with wings as eagles, and through their courage they make us soar.

May God bless these honored dead. May God bless the country they serve.

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