President Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to honor the men and women who have died in service to our country for Memorial Day. The president delivered a brief speech to the crowd that had gathered after fulfilling the traditional duty of the Commander-in-Chief on Memorial Day; laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Thank you for joining us as we honor the brave warriors who gave their lives for ours–Spending their last moments on this earth in defense of this great country and its people,” Trump began. “We only hope that every day we can prove worthy, not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by their families and loved ones they left behind—special, special people.”
Here at this hallowed shrine, we honor the noblest among us, the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom,” said Trump. “We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced into gunfire, roared into battle, and ran into hell to face down evil. They made their sacrifice not for fame, or for money, or even for glory, but for country.”
Trump’s remarks grew more personal as he addressed the death of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly’s fallen son, Robert.
I especially want to extend our gratitude to Gen. Kelly for joining us today—an incredible man—I always call him general,” Trump said. “He understands more than most ever could, or ever will, the wounds and burdens of war.”
Gen. Kelly’s son Robert Kelly, a United States Marine like his father, was killed by an IED blast in 2010 while on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
“To the entire Kelly family, today, 300 million American hearts are joined together with you.” President Trump added. “We grieve with you. We honor you and we pledge to you that we will always remember Robert and what he did for us.”
President Trump then went on to address all Gold Star families, referring to their fallen loved ones as “angels sent to us by God.”
They all share one title in common—and that is the title of ‘hero’—real heroes,” Trump said. “Though they were only here for a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever…While we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying—will always be there, Thank you,” Trump said. “Their stories are now woven into the soul of our nation, into the stars and stripes on our flag, and into the beating hearts of our great, great people.”
The event was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Before the president’s speech, Dunford also addressed the crowd at Arlington Cemetery, thanking the men and women who have died in defense of our nation for their sacrifice.
“They were people who stood for something larger than themselves, people who understood what we have in our country is worth fighting for,” Dunford said before introducing James Mattis to speak.
Trump concluded the events of the day by honoring the “unknown soldiers” represented by the prestigious tomb on the grounds of the national cemetery.
“Today we also hold a special vigil for heroes whose stories we cannot tell, because their names are known to God alone–the unknown soldiers,” Trump said. “We do not know where they came from, who they left behind, or what they hoped to be, but we do know what they did. They fought and they died in the great and noble act of loyalty and love to their families and to our country.”
Image courtesy of Getty Images