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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 240-98
May 14, 1998

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM S. COHEN'S REMARKS AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS

"To gather on this site always quickens our hearts and stirs our national pride. We disturb this hallowed ground with profound reluctance. And we take this step only because of our abiding commitment to account for every warrior who fought and died to preserve the freedoms that we cherish.

"If advances in technology can ease the lingering anguish of even one family, then our path is clear. And so we yield today to the promise of science with the hope that the heavy burden of doubt may be lifted from a family's heart.

"But we are not here simply as grateful beneficiaries of modern technology. Instead, our purpose is timeless. We gather to show our deep gratitude for the sacrifices of our warriors, including those who died unknown and unsung on distant battlefields. And that gratitude extends in particular to all of the families of our fallen heroes who have joined us here today.

"Of the millions of visitors to this spiritual place, only a small number actually come to visit a specific gravesite. To the great majority of sojourners, those who lie under these green hills are unknown. And yet thousands are drawn here each week in quiet reverence to honor the service and the sacrifice of our dead.

"As we live yet another day under the freedom for which their lives were given, we give thanks to them once again today. And far from diminishing the sanctity of this cemetery and this tomb, our actions today serve to recommit ourselves to the principles of freedom and democracy which this sacred ground represents.

"May God continue to embrace our nation and all who rest here."

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