When President Trump announced his intent to appoint Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis to the coveted position of Secretary of Defense, Marines and service members all over the world rejoiced at the idea, despite the fact that existing regulation would not allow the appointment without a congressional waiver.  Having retired from active duty only four years before his potential appointment, Mattis had not yet fulfilled the mandated seven-year “cooling off period” required by law before being permitted to take the reins of America’s military machine.  His waiver was approved, and James Mattis assumed control of the Pentagon as perhaps the most popular military commander of the modern era.

On Thursday, the Secretary of Defense drew from those deep connections with America’s service men and women when welcoming family members that belong to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, to the Pentagon.

“I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have you here,” the secretary told the many families of the fallen as they arrived for the 23rd annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.

“We get a lot of important people in this building, but no one is more important to us in our hearts than all of you,” Mattis told the group of men, women and children.