Service, Sacrifice Made America a Better Nation, Dempsey Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2014 America is a better place because of the service and sacrifices of countless men and women, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery.
Quoting from “America the Beautiful,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke of the iconic cemetery during his remarks at the Memorial Amphitheater: “Oh beautiful, for patriot dreams that see beyond the years, thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears.”
The cemetery is America’s own alabaster city, he said. In Arlington and other cemeteries around the world, “we honor the patriot dreams of America's sons and daughters, those who were willing to fight in every clime and in every place, who were willing to risk and give their lives for our nation’s ideals,” Dempsey said.
“Here we remember, we grieve, but we’re also inspired,” the chairman said, “because here we celebrate the timeless strength of America, undimmed by human tears.
Memorial Day is when Americans honor the nation’s fallen heroes, Dempsey noted.
“We remember their devotion,” he said. “We respect their dedication to our national purpose -- to secure the blessings of liberty.”
A grateful nation should look back, but it also needs to look forward, the chairman told those assembled in the amphitheater.
“America’s sons and daughters are out there still today, on the frontiers of our common defense,” Dempsey said. “They are in Afghanistan and on mountains and planes around the world. They are across the shining seas, and they are in the spacious skies.
“In the footsteps of generations before, they will marshal the day with courage and with commitment to make a difference for each other, for us, and for people they've never even met, but with whom they share a dream for a better future,” he continued.
The young men and women who step forward to serve represent the best of America, the chairman said.
“On this Memorial Day, let us remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation and show that America stands firmly with those who protect her,” he said. “Let’s renew and rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our nation, its freedom, its responsibility, its patriot dreams undimmed by human tears.”