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Never forget 'those who gave all'

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Memorial Day kicks off a variety of summer activities, cook outs with family or friends, boating, picnics at the park, and numerous outdoor sports. Let's face it, Americans love summer! Yet, this weekend is not only an occasion to enjoy time off, but it is an important period for our nation to reflect on those men and women who have lost their lives in military service to our country.

For more than a century and a half, we Americans have assembled on this day to honor those who were lost in defense of our nation and to reflect upon what was gained. There is arguably no greater sacrifice one can make than to lay down their life for another. And so through all the years and all the wars, Americans have never ceased to honor those who gave their all.

Not only do we honor their sacrifice, but we recognize their struggle - the timeless struggle to be free. The battlefields, the weapons, the allies, the enemies all change over time. The reason why we fight - to defend the inalienable rights of all people to be free - remains constant.

Let us remember the thousands who have made that ultimate sacrifice. Let us honor them for their duty to America.

Pause for those dead and also thank the thousands who continue to serve for liberty. I want to personally thank each of you in service to your country, as well as the spouses and children who support you at home.

American service men and women take pride in the tradition of service. They serve to defend and protect each and every one of us. The defense for freedom continues today and as we kick off "101 Critical Days of Summer," we recognize our most valuable resource - our people. It is our duty to be responsible in our actions and ensure safety for those around us. Internalize the Wingman philosophy this Memorial Day; watch out for each other.

I am proud of your effort shown toward mitigating work related incidents. I ask that each of you extend that hard work to your weekends, especially this one.

Americans look on their soldiers, sailors, Airmen, and Marines with pride and understand the value of their sacrifice.

Their virtue and hard work are examples we can follow, especially during the "101 Critical Days of Summer," and we can all sacrifice to have a little safety.

Again, a heartfelt thank you for all you do for your country, each other and your family.