Kim Joiner, the deputy assistant to the secretary of defense, strategic engagement, provided the State of Freedom address during a salute to the military at prerace ceremonies of the Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
"I want to pause to make sure everyone remembers what this three-day weekend is truly about — to honor our heroes: those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free and safe," she said, speaking on behalf of Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan.
"To all of our Gold Star families — those who have lost a loved one in military service — I want to pass on my heartfelt appreciation. Let us never forget our heroes," she said.
"Currently, less than 1% of Americans are willing and able to serve in the military, and fewer than 15% of young adults have a parent who has served, compared to 40% in 1995," she added.
"I would encourage all of you to visit the new website Defense.gov/KnowYourMilitary and our social media platforms to learn more," Joiner said. "And sign up to become a #KnowYourMil supporter to remain engaged with the department's efforts to highlight the important work of our service members."