Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a decorated Navy combat veteran, and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, attended the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Fort Huachuca Post Cemetery.
Kelly, Giffords, The Widowed Support Center, Gold Star Wives and the Society of Military Widows dedicated wreaths to fallen service members. The Fort Huachuca Post Cemetery is the final resting place of over 4,000 of our country’s fallen soldiers and their dependents.
Kelly delivered remarks at the Post Cemetery, with Fort Huachuca Gold Star Families in attendance, touching on the somber significance of Memorial Day for military spouses and families and the critical role that Arizona plays in our country’s national security. Following his remarks, Kelly, Giffords and Gold Star Family members participated in a luncheon at The Pershing House hosted by Maj. Gen. Anthony R. Hale, Commanding General U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence & Fort Huachuca.
Below is a transcript of Kelly’s remarks as delivered:
Thank you, General. And good morning, everybody. And thank you Fort Huachuca for holding this annual ceremony. It’s very important that we do this and reflect on the lives that have been lost by members of our military. So, thank you everybody — all of you — for being here today.
We come together on occasions on this day each year to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Military men and women who served to protect us. And to protect our families, and our neighbors, and our way of life. To defend our nation, and to protect freedom across the globe.
Arizona is home to seven military installations, and has a long and proud legacy of supporting our national defense. At least 500,000 veterans — half a million — live in our state. And that means that for so many Arizonans, Memorial Day is a stark, and often painful reminder of loved ones or friends who were lost and taken from us way too soon. For them, we gather today to remember, and to reflect, and to remember one million Americans die while serving our country. Think about that: 1.1 million. — in excess of that. We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. And that debt of gratitude is not just to them, it’s to their families. Some of those families are here today. Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones serving our nation. And these aren’t always individuals serving in combat. Serving in the United States Military is a dangerous job regardless of where you are. Many folks die in training accidents and often not here at home — on the other side of the planet. It is a tough business but it is so important that we time and time again have Americans that will step forward and put their lives on the line to defend our nation and our way of life.
Like Gen. Hale said, our military’s greatest asset is our people. He told me that when we were — when we visited a few months ago — when I made my first trip to Fort Huachuca. Gabby made many trips here to honor the service and meet with soldiers that serve at this incredible installation.
Now, I know personally, firsthand, as a veteran of the United States Navy, the sacrifice that families have made. Personal friends of mine died serving our country. Those who wear our uniform and serve are truly some of the best and brightest in our nation.
Most importantly, they are also cherished community members and beloved friends, sons, and daughters, sisters and brothers. And that is why their loss affects us so deeply and why it’s even more crucial to honor their lives and legacies not only on Memorial Day but every single day.
So, thank you for being here today on this very hallowed ground, a place where we can remember the lives that have been lost and the service of over one million Americans.
Thank you for being here today. And to the Gold Star Families that are here: thank you to your sons and daughters. Thank you for their services and for giving the ultimate sacrifice.