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Memorial Day 2002 Message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2002 – Across our great land, thousands of American flags, proudly waving, mark the final resting place of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and merchant mariners who had their lives cut short so that we may live freely and enjoy the blessings of liberty. Memorial Day is the one day of the year that we set aside to remember and honor our country's patriots, yet we owe them a debt of gratitude, every day of every year.

This Memorial Day finds our Nation at war -- a war we did not seek, but one we will decisively win. However, our victory will not come without its costs. Once again, we are witnesses to America's sons and daughters being brought home, solemnly and respectfully, in flag-draped coffins. They join those who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11, 2001. We are deeply saddened by their deaths, but eternally grateful for their sacrifice. It remains our challenge to do our very best to remain true to the principles and beliefs in which they so fervently believed and which they so valiantly fought to preserve. Their loved ones who carry on remain in our thoughts and prayers.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and I join every American this Memorial Day, to pause and reflect upon the sacrifices made by so many of our fellow citizens in times of war and conflict throughout our Nation's history. We also salute the dedicated men and women of today's Armed Forces, whether defending our homeland or serving around the world. They are preserving and adding to this noble legacy.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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