On Memorial Day, we come together as a nation to honor the brave Americans who lost their lives defending the nation they loved, and we mourn again alongside our dear Gold Star and surviving families.

On this first Memorial Day since the end of America’s longest war, we remember the 2,461 American soldiers and servicemen who fell in Afghanistan. We will never forget the sacrifice they and their families made to this country.

When troops enlist, their families serve alongside them. Their sacrifice and dedication is what makes our armed forces so strong. It is our sacred obligation to support our military families, especially those who have paid the most unthinkable price.

Our troops don’t just defend our country; they defend the principles of our democracy and our Constitution. Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the world has seen the power of ordinary citizens and soldiers to resist aggression and tyranny, and I hope the inspiring resilience of the Ukrainian people will remind us to all of us never to take our freedom and our democracy for granted.

We rededicate ourselves today to the values ​​and principles that our fallen forces gave their lives to uphold. So let us remember these patriots with a renewed commitment to making our country worthy of their sacrifice, to keeping their families close to our hearts, and to advancing the democratic ideals for which so many have given so much.