Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen

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Hi, I’m Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. This weekend we observe Memorial Day. While millions of Americans will gather for parades, backyard cookouts and family vacations, it’s important to remember why we’re able to enjoy such freedoms. We owe our gratitude and thanks to all of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard Guardsmen, who have fallen in defense of our great nation. 
I served 23 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL, and during that time had the honor and responsibility of commanding some of our best men and women in combat. There are few things more moving than to see a young person put everything they have on the line for their country and their teammates around them. In January the President and I traveled to Dover Delaware to receive the body of fallen U.S. SEAL Chief Ryan Owens. In that moment, in the aircraft carrier surrounding my servicemen and women and their families, I saw the weight of war on President Trump’s shoulders. He walked into the hangar our President, and walked out our Commander in Chief. It was clear, the President immediately felt the gravity of the situation, and he saw and felt the unique responsibility the United States has in keeping our world safe. 
 The Department of the Interior maintains many of our nation’s most hallowed and sacred sites, Gettysburg, the Vietnam war memorial, the 9/11 memorial, and Pearl Harbor. But your communities are home to many war memorials as well. This weekend take a break from the festivals, and indeed take a moment to visit a memorial and learn a little about the heroes from your own town. It’s because of these men and women that we’re able to gather with our own families to celebrate this vacation. On behalf of the Department of the Interior and a grateful nation, I’d like to thank the servicemembers who have laid down their lives for our nation, and thank their family members for their sacrifice as well. May God bless America, and may God bless the men and women who defend her. Thank you.


On Memorial Day, the nation pauses to honor all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for their country. This weekend, we encourage you to visit one of the many war memorials dedicated to the men and women who died for our freedom. From local Revolutionary War battlefields to World War II cemeteries around the country, the memory of those heroes is enshrined forever.  

From all of us at Interior, we thank the service members who laid down their lives for this nation and their family members for their sacrifices.