Gates Stresses Reflection in Memorial Day Message

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 — In his final Memo­r­i­al Day mes­sage as his June 30 retire­ment nears, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates called on ser­vice mem­bers to reflect on their com­rades who have died in ser­vice to the nation.
Here is the text of the secretary’s video mes­sage:

For many Amer­i­cans, Memo­r­i­al Day is a respite from work. But it should be fore­most an occa­sion to reflect, to remem­ber and to hon­or all those who have fought and died in defense of our nation. It is also a day to remem­ber fam­i­ly mem­bers, who in recent years have borne the brunt of repeat­ed deployments. 

Memo­r­i­al Day must not be the only day in which we keep our troops — men and women like you — in our thoughts. We must always rec­og­nize that that this gen­er­a­tion, like so many before, is keep­ing watch and serv­ing in far­away lands. 

It has been my great­est hon­or to serve and to lead you as sec­re­tary of defense. Vir­tu­al­ly every day since tak­ing this post, I have writ­ten con­do­lence let­ters to the fam­i­lies of the fall­en. I will always keep all of you in my heart and in my prayers as long as I live — as should all Amer­i­cans. Thanks for listening. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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