Memorial Day stirs deep emotions: sadness among families whose sons and daughters gave their lives for our country, the pang of reaching out for someone who is now a memory, and I hope not just for them but for all of us, enduring pride and solace in remembering the men and women who gave the full measure of devotion and sacrifice for their country.
For those of us who served -- and as I was reminded last Veterans Day, that is a enormous number in our State Department family -- it's particularly a day to reflect on friends who weren't as lucky as we are, friends and brothers in arms who didn't get to grow older and know gray hair and grandchildren. We're reminded to carry on for them, knowing that for us every day really is extra.
In the coming days, I’ll be joining President Obama in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I remember my first visit to the beaches of Normandy with my Dad as a child and seeing the remnants and relics of wartime, the burned out hulks of Higgins Boats. But it wasn’t until years later, walking those beaches and seeing that cemetery after I had been in the service myself, that I really stopped and thought about what those young men fought and died to achieve, the remarkable price paid for the world’s peace and freedom by our Greatest Generation.
Now, as more than a decade of war grows closer to ending, we again pause to honor those who again gave all so that our world can be more safe and more free. I hope that you'll join me in honoring President Obama’s request that all Americans pause at 11:00 a.m. on Monday -- and that God will bless all who served and sacrificed, and God bless the United States of America.