Not long after the Civil War, Americans pledged to honor those who, as Abraham Lincoln put it, gave the last full measure of devotion. Be they from Lexington and Concord; Gettysburg and Antietam; the Argonnes Forest or the beaches of Normandy; Chosin and Inchon; Saigon and the Mekong Delta; Baghdad or Kandahar &8212; we have kept that pledge every Memorial Day, and rightfully so.
Today, a new generation of American heroes is fighting for freedom all across the globe. Some of them have given that last full measure … losing their lives to make a better life for all of us. It is the hardest currency of all, once spent never to be recouped, a debt we can never truly, fully repay.
This weekend is marked by events, large and small, across our nation to honor their memory and recognize the sacrifices of those family members and children they left behind. 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.