One of the things that I am truly grateful for as Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs is the opportunity to travel and to be inspired by Veterans and their families. Later this week, I will be privileged to spend time at the American Gold Star Manor in Long Beach, California. This unique apartment complex is home to a special community: the parents of children who died while serving in the military. These residents share a unique bond as neighbors and as citizens who have made extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our Nation. For them, every day is Memorial Day, because their heroic sons and daughters are always in their thoughts.
I will carry these families in my thoughts, as well, as I travel from Long Beach to Laurel, Montana to speak at a ceremony where NCA will take ownership of Yellowstone National Cemetery, the first of eight sites planned under our Rural Initiative. I know that there, too, I will meet the families of the fallen. From Monday on, they will entrust us with the perpetual care of their loved ones, and we will ensure their final resting places are worthy of their service and sacrifice.
We consider our national cemeteries to be national shrines, not only because of their beauty, but also because they are focal points for remembering the brave men and women who put on the uniform and willingly put themselves in harm’s way. They expected nothing in return—except, perhaps, to be remembered. Keeping their stories alive is a huge part of our sacred trust, on Memorial Day and every day.
Please consider joining the thousands of patriotic citizens attending Memorial Day events around our great nation. Many of those events will take place at our national cemeteries and can be found here: 2014 Memorial Day Events at VA National Cemeteries. I remain truly grateful for your support in honoring our fallen Service members, our Veterans and their families.
Steve Muro is VA’s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs