Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West released the following Memorial Day message to the fleet May 24.
“Shipmates and Navy families,
Across our great country this weekend, Americans will revel in the opening act of summer with burgers on the barbecue, road trips to an array of destinations near and far, and recreational pursuits drenched in adrenalin or draped in tranquility. Many will pause to reflect on the supreme sacrifice made by those quintessential heroes of liberty; our sons and daughters who selflessly laid down their lives in the name of the nation’s cloth. Memorial Day festivities unite us in uniquely American celebrations of patriotism and freedom, made even more profound by a decade of sustained valor on the front lines.
Regardless of how you choose to observe Memorial Day, I encourage each of you in uniform and the devoted families who stand beside you to take a well-deserved sense of honor in your own loyal service. You are part of something bigger than yourself … a precious embodiment of the ideals etched in history by men and women who gave their last breath defending the things we hold most dearly. You fortify us with the force of personal courage, the durability of unshakeable resolve, the precision of noble purpose and the endurance innate in our sacred oath to defend the Constitution. You are truly the source of America’s military strength.
For more than 236 years, veterans like you have marched, sailed and flown into the violent storms of war to preserve our sovereign interests at home and abroad. They fought and died for friends, family and our flag. A republic survives only so long as such people pledge allegiance to protect its posterity with nothing less than their lives. We must never forget that conviction or fail to recognize the warriors whose blood left behind on the battlefield represents eternal proof of their own immortal faith in our country.
I ask you also to remember that you have an obligation to those you love, to those that you serve with and to those in your community – it is to celebrate responsibly and safely so that your aspirations for the future are some day fulfilled. I’m truly grateful for your efforts to keep our Navy and this nation strong, and for the gallant sacrifices of those who have gone before us to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
Hooyah and happy Memorial Day shipmates – be safe!
Naval Today Staff , May 25, 2012; Image: US Navy