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Memorial Day Introduction of the President
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 26, 2003

Mr. President, Mrs. Bush.

My colleague, Secretary Principi.  Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Senator Pryor, Senator Dole, thank you so much for being with us. 

General Myers and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we thank you so much for your truly outstanding service to our country.

Distinguished Guests,

Families of those heroes we remember here today, our hearts and prayers are with you.

Veterans, thank you so much for your distinguished service.

Men and Women of the Armed services,

And Ladies and Gentlemen.


Beyond this amphitheater, in a garden of graceful white headstones, lie the heroes of our heritage.


They came from every corner of America, from every walk of life—each different, each an individual who made a choice, yet all shared the same dream of freedom that gave birth to our nation and that has carried the light of liberty to literally millions all across the globe.


We are surrounded by their monuments, but also by their dreams—their dreams for America, that it would remain a bastion of freedom and a beacon of hope; dreams for the world, that men would learn to live in harmony and in peace; and their dreams for themselves, their families, and their future—dreams that they did not live to see come true.


And so we come each year to this place, to celebrate their memory and to honor their sacrifice.  It is appropriate that we do so, for only by remembering how great their sacrifice, can we fully appreciate the value they placed on freedom.


Today we face new threats to our freedom.   They will be met with the same courage, the same commitment, and like the foes of times past, they too will be defeated.


This is our pledge–to the men and women who have gone before; our responsibility–to our children, and their children, and to all who follow; and it is the promise of our President—who has vowed that no act of terror will “change our purpose, weaken our resolve, or alter their fate.” 


Mr. President – we thank you for the courage and the clarity of your leadership.  We will press on, we will prevail because our people are strong, our forces are the finest on the face of the Earth, and because we share fully your commitment to the security and the future of the American people.


Veterans, men and women of the Armed Forces, ladies and gentlemen, it’s my great honor and privilege to introduce our Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush, President of the United States.