Hi, everybody.This weekend is Memorial Day -- a time to pay tribute to all our men and women in uniform who've ever given their lives so that we can live in freedom and security. This year, the holiday is especially meaningful.It's the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan.
On Monday, at Arlington Cemetery1, I'll join our Gold Star families, veterans, and their loved ones to remember all our fallen heroes, including the more than 2,200 American patriots2 who gave their lives in Afghanistan. And I plan to share a few of their stories.
Growing up in Arizona, Wyatt Martin loved the outdoors. To him, a great day was a day spent fishing. After high school, he enlisted3 in the Army because he believed that the blessings4 he enjoyed as an American came with an obligation to give back to his country.
Ramon Morris was born in Jamaica, and as a teenager came to Queens. Like so many proud immigrants, he felt a calling to serve his new country and joined the Army. He fell in love, got engaged, and the thing he wanted most was to make the world safer for his three-year-old daughter.
In their lives, Specialist Wyatt Martin and Sergeant5 First Class Ramon Morris travelled different paths.But in December, their paths intersected as the final two Americans to give their lives during our combat mission in Afghanistan.
This weekend also reminds us that, around the world, our men and women in uniform continue to serve and risk their lives. In Afghanistan, our troops now have a new mission -- training and advising Afghan forces. John Dawson was one of them.From Massachusetts, he loved the Bruins and the Pats. In April, he gave his life as an Army combat medic -- the first American to give his life in this new mission.This Memorial Day, we'll honor Corporal Dawson as well.
Like generations of heroes before them, these Americans gave everything they had -- not for glory, not even for gratitude6, but for something greater than themselves. We cannot bring them back.Nor can we ease the pain of their families and friends who live with their loss.
But we are the Americans they died to defend.So what we can do -- what we must do -- is fulfill7 our sacred obligations to them, just like they fulfilled theirs to us.We have to honor their memory. We have to care for their families, and our veterans who served with them. And as a nation, we have to remain worthy8 of their sacrifice -- forever committed to the country they loved and the freedom they fought for and died for.