MCPON Memorial Day Message To Fleet:
On May 28, we -- as a nation -- will pause to remember a group of Americans to whom we owe every freedom we enjoy.All who have died in the service of this country have not died in combat. As noted on prior Memorial Days (here and here), the profession of arms is one of daily risk. A ruptured steam pipe, some yet unknown factor while flying, some poorly designed equipment, a moment of carelessness - life ends for some young man or woman - even in the supposed safety of a homeport or during an exercise. Those who serve are not immune to the perils of daily life -car accidents, accidental drownings, and on and on.
The strength of our nation has been built on the sacrifices made by the men and women who lost their lives protecting it. This weekend you’ll have the opportunity to remember those who gave their lives in the name of freedom. How you choose to spend this time is a personal choice only you can make.
It is my hope that at some point over the next few days you’ll take a moment to consider those sacrifices and what they’ve meant to this country.
Remember our loved ones in the jungles of Vietnam, who fought a war thousands of miles away while their fellow Americans debated it at home. They fought an enemy emboldened by our country’s discord, and they fought for one another.
Remember a generation of Americans that is unfortunately dwindling by the day. Our World War II veterans rode a groundswell of anger after Pearl Harbor. They flooded the recruiting offices and defended this nation with a will and resolve that we still owe them for to this day.
Thousands of them never came home from the Far East, France or Great Britain. Many were lost while serving on or beneath the sea. Those who lived led this country for 60 years after the war, but their numbers are diminishing. Remember them this weekend.
Think back to the day immediately following 9/11 and the thousands of young Americans who, like their grandparents, joined the military to defend this nation against an enemy who attacked us because we are a country that embraces freedom. We’ve lost many of them too, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember them as you do our veterans of Korea, World War I, II and Vietnam.
This weekend is a time we’ve traditionally set aside to honor the sacrifices of those who died in service of our nation. Memorializing them goes to the core of who we are as Americans and as Sailors. Our thoughts should be with them every day, and I hope yours are. And, if not every day, then certainly this Monday.
Stay safe this weekend. Enjoy your families, and never forget the men and women who took an oath to defend this nation, then made the ultimate sacrifice upholding freedom and democracy.
Remember all of them.