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“Ordinary men and women of extraordinary courage have, since our earliest days, answered the call of duty with valor and unwavering devotion. From Gettysburg to Kandahar, America's sons and daughters have served with honor and distinction, securing our liberties and laying a foundation for lasting peace.”

President Barack Obama
Presidential Proclamation: Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2011

May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Traditions Live On

On Memorial Day, men and women across the nation pause to remember America’s fallen soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of protecting American freedom. Originally known as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day came into existence just three years after the Civil War ended. Decoration Day was intended as a time to remember the soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War and more specifically, to honor their memory by decorating their graves. More

Top Stories

Ceremony honors Belleau Wood fallen

BELLEAU, France, May 29, 2011 — More than 300 U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy sailors from around the globe joined 2,000 French citizens on America's Memorial Day weekend to honor those killed or missing in the World War I battle of Belleau Wood. The 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos, backed by Marines from Marine Corps Forces Europe, members of 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, and Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Company Europe gathered to remember and honor the 2,289 war-dead who are buried at the 42.5-acre cemetery. Story

Obama Leads in Observing Memorial Day

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va., May 30, 2011 – The lessons of Memorial Day can be summed up in a few words, President Barack Obama said here today: “Brotherhood. Sacrifice. Love of country.” Story

Gates, Mullen Praise Efforts of Troops, Families, Vets

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2011 – Flanked by the memorials of wars past, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today said he has had no greater honor than serving and leading the U.S. military. Story

War Veteran Hangs Up Wings at Age 90

VALDOSTA, Ga. , May 29, 2011 – Retired Air Force Col. Clarence Parker, who has more than 70 years of experience as a pilot flying in World War II, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, has taken his last flight at age 90. Story

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Family Forum Blog: A Pledge to Remember

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 - In her new blog, Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reflects on our duty as a nation to support Gold Star families by we promising them we will remember "those who lived and loved and fought for this country." Story

Blogger Honors Fallen, Their Families

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2011 - In this Family Matters Blog, AFPS writer Elaine Sanchez recalls the solemn dignified transfer for two soldiers who died in Afghanistan that she was honored to witness a year ago. Story

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Memorial Day Messages

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates honors service members who've fought and died in defense of our nation and the family members who've been bearing the brunt of repeated deployment.

"Memorial Day must not be the only day in which we keep our troops, men and women like you, in our thoughts. It has been my greatest honor to serve and to lead you as secretary of defense. ... I will always keep all of you in my heart and in my prayers as long as I live - as should all Americans."

Robert M. Gates
Full Text

Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reflects on the true meaning of Memorial Day: honoring the service and sacrifice of the nations's fallen service members.

Memorial Day "is that day we set aside solemnly to remember the brave who did not make it home, to celebrate their courage, mourn their loss, and appreciate what they did to make this country a safer place. Sadly, more than 6,000 names have been added to that roll call in the last 10 years."

Mike Mullen
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