An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Remembering those who gave their all

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz
  • Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command
This Memorial Day, we remember those men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives serving their country. Recently I had the honor to lay a wreath on behalf of our Command at the memorial on Guam for the crew of RAIDR 21, who went down in a B-52 off the coast of Guam nearly two years ago. I also had the privilege of visiting the beaches on Guam where many Americans lost their lives taking back the island and liberating thousands from concentration camps during the war in the Pacific. It is always sobering to remember those, in so many places over so many years, who have gone before us.

Memorial Day was first observed as "Decoration Day," to mark the terrible losses inflicted when Americans fought Americans in the Civil War, each side giving, as President Lincoln said, "the last, full measure of devotion." Through the years, thousands of American men and women have given their lives in service to this nation from the South Pacific to the beaches of Normandy, from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. By honoring their sacrifices, we are reminded of the privilege of freedom--and our duty to protect that freedom for our fellow citizens.

Even today, we are a nation at war. Our fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have been continuously engaged in combat operations defending freedom for more than 18 years. Air Force Global Strike Command has members deployed in support of current operations around the globe. It is our fervent hope that all who deploy will return safely to their families, friends and comrades-in-arms.

On this Memorial Day, at 3 p.m., wherever you are, please take a minute to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance established by Congress. This is a meaningful opportunity to show gratitude for those who died for our freedom.

Whether you visit a cemetery and decorate a veteran's grave, or quietly pause to remember our fallen heroes, let's continue to make sure they are honored this Memorial Day--may their sacrifices never be forgotten.