President Trump’s Honoring Speech of our Nation’s Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day; Our Country Owes a Debt of Gratitude to the Soldiers and Families who paid the Ultimate Price for America to Remain Free

It is such an important and vital moment to remember the significance of Memorial Day. The freedoms that are offered and allowed to be carried out each and every day in America are not free. There is a cost. The cost is the lives of the many men and women service members in our Armed Forces that gave their lives in defense of our nation so that our freedoms would not be lost. This is the moment that we remember their lives. We remember their sacrifices and we are grateful for each and every one of them.
Since President Trump has taken office in the White House, he has consistently expressed his gratitude for our nation’s military and his support for all of those that serve in all of our Armed Forces. During this year’s Memorial Day, President Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All eyes were fixated on the President as he stood with his hands resting on the wreath and stood motionless absorbing this important moment. As military members, dressed in their proper uniforms rendered salutes, and civilians rested their right hands on their hearts, the somber tune of taps began to play.
As the President continued to keep his eyes fixed on the wreath, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the thoughts of the countless men and women who laid their lives down, he later shared his heart and deep gratitude as he spoke at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheatre. “Thank you for joining us as we honor the brave warriors who gave their lives for ours, spending their last moments on this Earth in defense of this country and of its people. Words cannot measure the depth of their devotion, the purity of their love, or the totality of their courage.”
For those who fought for our nation, or those who have a relative or friend who fought for our nation, they understand that Memorial Day is more than a day, it is a constant reminder, a daily reminder to remember those who gave up their lives. We also must remember the many family members and friends that continually carry the memories of those that willfully gave up their lives. Families that carry the loss of a family member are known as “Gold Star Families” and President Trump spoke directly to them as he shared his heart. “To every Gold Star family who honors us with your presence, you lost sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. They each had their own names, their own stories, their own beautiful dreams. But they were all angels sent to us by God, and they all share one title in common — and that is the title of hero.
As the President continues, he marks the significance of honoring those who fought for our country for the simple opportunity to serve, and nothing else. “Here at this hallowed shrine, we honor the noblest among us — the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom. We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced into gunfire, roared into battle, and ran into hell to face down evil. They made their sacrifice not for fame, or for money, or even for glory — but for country.” Understanding that the cost of serving in our nation’s military has remained the same, regardless of what generation was called upon to serve, the President highlights how every life that has served matters to our country. “Since the first volley of gunfire in the Revolution, brave Americans in every generation have answered the call of duty and won victory for freedom in its hour of need. Today, a new generation of American patriots are fighting to win the battle against terrorism — risking their lives to protect our citizens from an enemy that uses the murder of innocents to wage war on humanity itself.” Understanding that the cost is still being paid in our generation, the President shares about many of the stories of these service members, some of those who were among the crowds, some retired from their careers in the military, and some of those whose wives spoke about their deep love and sacrifice for their country.
As a former Marine, Steve Kaliszewski understands the tragedies of war. He served two combat deployments to Fallujah, Iraq and lost many close brothers that he served with. He shares how Memorial Day is more than a day to celebrate with a picnic, or to have a day off from work. As he also points out, Memorial Day is not the same as Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day celebrates our Veterans who paid with their service, while Memorial Day remembers those who paid with their lives. Some people may not understand why a Veteran doesn’t respond with a smile on their face as someone excitedly says, “Happy Memorial Day”. With this in mind, they may have a better understanding as to why.
When we look at the overwhelming sights of Arlington National Cemetery, and cemeteries around the nation, we can be taken in by the many white headstones and not connect the reality that each of those headstones represent someone’s father, a brother, a son, a mother, or a sister. Without a story of who these amazing people are, we can easily disconnect from the weight of this precious moment. There are many stories that Steve could have shared, but one always comes to mind.
Steve remembers Deal, aka “Doc”, or as his family knows him, Lee Hamilton Deal, always being the one that was sharing a joke, even when receiving enemy fire. Deal was the kind of guy that always had you rolling. While on a nighttime gun range, Steve remembers Deal sharing a story from his days as a kicker with LSU’s football team. When attending a certain sports game, his name was elected to win the grand prize of kicking the ball through the goal posts. The crowd was cheering until he was about to approach the ball. When they suddenly realized who it was, they told him he didn’t quality and couldn’t kick the ball.
When it was Steve’s team that was out on operations, carrying out patrols, it would often be Deal that was back at the Command Center receiving reports on the team’s activity. Little did they know that upon receiving intelligence, the whole platoon would move together to an objective. It was on this objective that Deal was killed as he was shot from enemy gunfire. When Steve heard Deal’s information over the radio, he knew the tragic reality that had taken place.
Another team member dragged Dealoff the objective as the location was cleared. Steve remembers the green images of picking up Deal and carrying him off the objective as he followed his eyes, as his night vision allowed him to see, and laid Deal on the hood of a Humvee. Steve had no idea that this was the last moment that he would see Deal.
The realities of Memorial Day weigh much heavier upon us when these stories become personal and close to our hearts. When we look across the rolling hills of Arlington National Cemetery, each of the headstones begin to have new meaning for us. In our current generation, those that are killed while in combat are buried in Section 60 of Arlington, unless families dictate otherwise. If the sight of Arlington is not somber enough, it is visiting the same location a few years later and seeing the indescribable sight of the number of rows of new plots that have been added in such a short amount of time, highlighting the undeniable cost of freedom.

As we remember those precious men and women on Memorial Day, the bugle call of Tapsbrings new meaning to all of us. We thank God for everyone who served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our hearts and prayers go out to every Gold Star Family. See the full story of this important day, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: Marine Corps, Army, National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, President Trump, Trump Administration, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Sentries, Taps, military veterans, Iraq War, Global War on Terrorism, Fallujah Iraq, honor, The United States Army Band, and gratitude. Greg and John shared in this segment. 

screen capture from White House 


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