On this Memorial Day weekend, some thoughts from the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Charles Brown:
This isn’t about me. Memorial Day isn’t about anyone who wears the uniform. It’s about honoring those who were wearing the uniform when they gave their lives for our nation and its ideals, so we can spend each day doing what we love, the ultimate measure of freedom.
For 75 years, our Air Force has played a defining role in the outcome of every conflict our country has faced. But it has not been without sacrifice.
I experienced the pain of loss for the first time in my military career when my friend, 1st Lt. Josh Levin, died in an aircraft accident over the Philippines. We were lieutenants together at Kusan Air Base in South Korea, and Josh had planned to attend my wedding the following year.
This is a familiar pain for so many.
Earlier this month, I met with mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters whose loved ones died in service to our nation.
I am forever grateful to those who gave their lives and to their families, who will always feel the pain of loss. And I am proud to lead an all-volunteer force comprised of airmen representing all walks of life and from all across this great nation.
For each of our service members who had raised their right hand and taken the oath of office or the oath of enlistment, I take solace in their selfless service, and reflect on the Bible verse: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'”
Each morning on my way to the Pentagon, I drive past Arlington National Cemetery, and small, stone markers that represent those who wore the uniform, who said, “Send me.”
It is a daily reminder of what Memorial Day is about. And it inspires me to work harder to ensure our airmen have what they need to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.
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Story produced by Mary Walsh. Editor: Lauren Barnello.