WASHINGTON, 26 May 2008. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited the importance of remembering the cost of freedom in a Memorial Day message to the armed forces.
His full message follows:
"'Let no ravages of time testify to the present or the coming generations that we, as a people, have forgotten the cost of a free and undivided republic.'
With that solemn promise, Army General John Logan signed the order in 1868 that established Memorial Day. We have honored his promise faithfully ever since, and this year -- with our nation still at war and a new generation of heroes fighting and dying for freedom -- we will do it again.
The 'cost' of which Logan wrote is, of course, the blood spilt of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is the hardest currency of all, once spent never to be recouped, a debt we can never truly, fully repay.
And yet, Memorial Day provides us the opportunity at the very least to acknowledge that debt, to recognize this incredible sacrifice and to recommit ourselves to making sure it wasn't spent in vain.
Upon the graves of our war dead -- be they from Lexington and Concord; Gettysburg and Antietam; the Argonne Forest or the beaches of Normandy; Chosin and Inchon; Saigon and the Mekong Delta; Baghdad or Kandahar -- rests not only the memories and the pride of valor past, but the hope and the vision of a better, more peaceful future.
Please join me this Memorial Day in remembering, on behalf of present and coming generations, the deep and abiding debt we owe to our fallen and to their loved ones."
Adm. Mike Mullen