US Leaders Honor Fallen Heroes

May 27, 2024: Arlington, VA – Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, President Joe Biden, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., paid tribute to fallen heroes today during a Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery.

Addressing Gold Star families and those mourning fallen American heroes, Austin expressed deep sorrow. “To Gold Star family members and everyone mourning a fallen American hero today, please know that we bow our heads in sorrow along with you,” he said. Austin acknowledged the enduring grief that these families face, not only on Memorial Day but every day.

Highlighting the inherent risks of defending the nation, Austin noted that military training is necessarily rigorous and challenging. “Our operations worldwide can put our troops in harm’s way,” he stated, adding that the toll on veterans continues, with many lost to suicide.

Austin emphasized that the sacrifices of troops and their families extend beyond wartime. Long deployments and the accompanying pride and constant worry are part of their reality. “They know the pride that never fades and the worry that never leaves,” he said.

Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. honored those who gave their lives while wearing the uniform, emphasizing the significance of their sacrifice. “We are here today to honor those who were wearing the uniform when they gave their lives for our nation and its ideals,” he said.

Brown also highlighted Arlington National Cemetery as the final resting place of over 400,000 fallen heroes. “Every stone marker represents someone who wore the uniform, who answered the call of duty, who when the nation asked, ‘who will go for us?’ They responded, ‘Send me,'” he remarked.

The ceremony served as a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by the nation’s service members and the enduring gratitude owed to them and their families.–By David Vergun