US President Donald Trump offered a solemn tribute to America’s service members during a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring those who gave their lives in war and those serving in defence of the country.
“Here at this hallowed shrine, we honour the noblest among us, the men and women who paid the ultimate price for victory and for freedom,” ABC News quoted Trump as saying on Monday.
“We pay tribute to those brave souls who raced into gunfire, roared into battle and ran into hell to face down evil. They made their sacrifice not for fame or for money or even for glory but for country.”
At the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater he relayed stories of those who served and urged Americans to continue with the day’s theme of remembrance.
“We can never replace them. We cannot repay them. But we can always remember. And today that is what we are doing,” Trump said.
In the speech he paid tribute to Army Specialist Christopher Horton, Special Forces Captain Andrew Byers and Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, the son of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly – whose family members were in attendance.
“And while we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying,” Trump said to the Gold Star families.
During last year’s presidential campaign, he notably engaged in a dispute with Captain Humayun Khan’s Gold Star parents, who spoke out against Trump in a Democratic National Convention speech, reports ABC News.
On Monday, Trump also made special mention of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who sat in the audience at the ceremony, thanking Dole for his service in the Second World War.
Earlier in the morning, the president visited the cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where he placed a wreath and reflected silently as a bugle player performed taps.
This was Trump’s first public appearance since returning from a nine-day foreign trip.