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Chairman's Memorial Day Message

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1999 – Every day in Washington hundreds of tourists see the rows of white gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, visible reminders that the freedom our Nation enjoys and the blessings it brings have been purchased by the blood of fallen patriots. On Memorial Day, we pause to remember the ultimate sacrifice these brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen made for our great country.

Established in 1868 to honor the slain heroes of the Civil War, "Decoration Day" as it was then known, was first proclaimed by General John Logan. His timeless words about this day echo with reverence even now. "We should," he wrote, "cherish tenderly the memory of our heroic dead."

Today, many of you will be serving in distant lands on Memorial Day, far from family and loved ones, securing the precious freedoms every American holds dear. Whether you are at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, aboard the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Battle Group in the Adriatic Sea, amidst the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, or in the muddy fields of Albania, your selfless dedication to duty continues the proud tradition of service to the Nation. The immortal fighting spirit of America's fallen heroes remains alive in each of you.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff join with millions of Americans everywhere in saluting your outstanding performance. As you keep America safe, you honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Gen. Henry H. Shelton, USA

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

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