For many Americans, Memorial Day is a respite from work. But it should be foremost an occasion to reflect, to remember, and to honor all those who have fought and died in defense of our nation. It is also a day to remember family members, who in recent years have borne the brunt of repeated deployments.
Memorial Day must not be the only day in which we keep our troops – men and women like you – in our thoughts. We must always recognize that this generation, like so many before, is keeping watch and serving in faraway lands.
It has been my greatest honor to serve and to lead you as Secretary of Defense. Virtually every day since taking this post, I have written condolence letters to the families of the fallen. I will always keep all of you in my heart and my prayers as long as I live – as should all Americans.