In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country. The President said that America has always risen to meet and overcome its challenges because of their brave sacrifice, and asked all Americans to honor our fallen heroes and to stand with our veterans and military families as we come together this weekend.
"So this weekend, as we commemorate Memorial Day, I ask you to hold all our fallen heroes in your hearts."
On Memorial Day, we honor and remember the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. And while our commitment to those who serve and their families remains important every day, Memorial Day is the perfect time to offer a simple act of kindness to our veterans and military families. You can send a message of thanks to our troops or a military family. Or pledge hours of service. Or even start your own volunteer project. And afterward, please share your story — tell us how you made a difference in your community in support of military families.
On Memorial Day 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces to recognize, honor and serve our nation’s veterans and military families. Joining Forces focuses on three key areas — employment, education and wellness — while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice and needs of our troops, veterans and their families. Learn more about the work Joining Forces is doing.
From the President's remarks:
"At a time when only about one percent of the American people bear the burden of our defense, the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform isn’t always readily apparent. That’s partly because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen are so skilled at what they do. It’s also because those who serve tend to do so quietly. They don’t seek the limelight. They don’t serve for our admiration, or even our gratitude. They risk their lives, and many give their lives, for something larger than themselves or any of us: the ideals of liberty and justice that make America a beacon of hope for the world."
"That’s been true throughout our history – from our earliest days, when a tiny band of revolutionaries stood up to an Empire, to our 9/11 Generation, which continues to serve and sacrifice today."
"Every time a threat has risen, Americans have risen to meet it. And because of that courage – that willingness to fight, and even die – America endures."
"That is the purpose of Memorial Day. To remember with gratitude the countless men and women who gave their lives so we could know peace and live in freedom."
"And we must do more than remember."
"We must care for the loved ones that our fallen service members have left behind."
"We must make sure all our veterans have the care and benefits they’ve earned, and the jobs and opportunity they deserve."
"We must be there for the military families whose loved ones are in harm’s way – for they serve as well."
"And above all, we must make sure that the men and women of our armed forces have the support they need to achieve their missions safely at home and abroad."
For a full transcript of the President's remarks, read below the fold, or on the White House website.