President Donald Trump traveled to the Arlington National Cemetery to pay his respects to fallen members of the United States military on Memorial Day, presiding over a moving ceremony that culminated with the commander in chief laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In his remarks, Trump – who was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis, national security advisor H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly, among other ranking administration members – praised the sacrifices of soldiers dating back to the Revolutionary War.
“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,” he said.
“We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced in to 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,” Trump continued.
The president honored a handful of soldiers by name, including Army Sniper Christopher Horton and Special Forces Captain Andrew D. Byers, who were recently killed in Afghanistan and whose families were in attendance, and Gen. Kelly’s son Robert, who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2012.
“While we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying,” he said.
Trump enjoyed a warm reception from the crowd at an event that is traditionally very somber, as did General Mattis, who also offered remarks to commemorate the important day.
“In a world awash in change, some things stand firm, some things are as Plato said, good and true and beautiful,” he said. “The kid on the line who never had a chance to grow old will always be there to teach us that suffering has meaning if it is accepted out of love for others.”