REMARKS AS PREPARED
Memorial Day – Willamette National Cemetery
May 29, 2017
Thank you and good morning. It is an honor to be with you and share my thoughts on our military and veterans this Memorial Day.
As the daughter of an Air Force member, I have incredible respect and admiration for people who volunteer to serve and protect our state and nation.
To Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and all of the service members and veterans here today, thank you for the contributions that you have made to keep our great state and nation safe.
As a state, and as individuals, we must wrap our arms around our service members, veterans, and their families – supporting them through their deployments and after their return home.
Today, Oregon’s Department of Veterans Affairs now serves more military veterans from more diverse backgrounds than ever before.
For the first time in history, we are serving four generations of Oregon veterans who fought in five major wars and stood guard, defending peace at home and abroad.
As Commander in Chief of the Oregon National Guard, I could not be more proud of the men and women serving in our forces.
We depend on the Guard for their mission here at home in times of fires, floods and storms, but also when they are activated for federal missions overseas.
Over the years, I have welcomed service members home as they return from the battlefield. And while these homecomings are a time for celebration, we must also keep in mind that brave and selfless Oregonians continue to answer the call of duty and are deployed on missions around the world.
Just last week, we marked the mobilization of the Oregon National Guard’s ELEVEN EIGHTY SIXTH Military Police Company.
I proudly presented the company with the Oregon state flag, which they’ll take with them while on deployment in Afghanistan.
For those of you who are familiar with this unit’s history, what makes this deployment so extraordinary is just how ordinary deployments have become.
Whether providing support and relief to Oregonians, or supporting the residents of New Orleans, deploying to Afghanistan, or serving in Cuba— Oregon’s ELEVEN EIGHTY SIXTH MPs answer the call wherever and whenever they are needed.
The spirit, determination and the commitment of the ELEVEN EIGHTY SIX Military Police Company make us so proud to be Oregonians.
Please keep them, as well as their families and all our American forces, in your hearts and thoughts while they are deployed.
As Governor, I have immense gratitude for all our service members and veterans.
It’s also important that we honor our military families and especially our Gold Star Families. Our Gold Star Families are unsung heroes who continue to live in the spirit of their soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Our military families do not serve in uniform, but there is no question that they serve with quiet strength and resiliency.
Each service member buried here at Willamette raised his or her right hand and swore to defend our values and way of life. They are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. I am humbled by their service and sacrifice.
This Memorial Day, we mark each flat gravestone with a small flag placed in honor by scout volunteers. The collective impact of the over 140,000 flags on this hilltop is powerful.
Today, we pause to remember our fallen. We remember their honor. We remember their courage. And we remember their dedication. Together, we resolve to never forget those who have given their lives in the name of peace and freedom.
Thank you for being here to honor and remember our veterans, fallen heroes, military members, and their families. God bless you and God bless all those still serving overseas.