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Memorial Day Message

To all of the men and women of the Department of Defense, it is an honor to join you this Memorial Day in solemn remembrance of the long line of patriots who have given everything to the cause of freedom and liberty, and of the Gold Star families to whom we owe a debt that can never be repaid.

From the first Memorial Day observance at the close of the Civil War, to the heartfelt ceremonies taking place in every American community today, the people of our nation have always taken the time to reflect, and consider the price of freedom. We recall the names, and the faces, of those brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice, and made it possible for us to raise our children, dream our dreams, and live full lives.

It is a mission that you carry forward today. As Secretary of Defense, I have been privileged to witness your service in many parts of the world, and to stand with you in solemn remembrance of those who came before you. Know that as you gather today for Memorial Day ceremonies on every American ship and base around the world, the American people stand with you, support you, and will never forget you. Thank you for your service.