Sailors take to the seas to keep us safe

Your American sailors are forever on watch, guarding their beloved homeland from the decks of vessels deployed around the world and in aircraft flying high above. While you may rarely see them, the impact of their efforts is felt every day as we gratefully enjoy our nation’s freedoms and liberties — and as we sleep in peace at night. It is a great honor and privilege to lead the more than 400,000 sailors of the United States Navy and to recognize their sacrifices this Memorial Day.

Without the brave men and women of the U.S. Navy to bring them to life, our 284 ships and thousands of aircraft are mere artifacts. It is the American sailor who makes our Navy the bulwark of our nation’s security. While sailors have their own reasons for heeding the call of service, they are united by a common cause: the defense of our country and security of their fellow citizens. At this very moment, more than 50,000 of these dedicated warfighters are deployed overseas providing a global, forward presence and protecting the world’s maritime crossroads. Whether patrolling the waters of the Arctic or performing humanitarian operations off the coast of Japan, our sailors are ready when it matters, where it matters.  

This Memorial Day we honor the millions who came before us, setting the standard for excellence in naval service since the birth of our Navy 238 years ago.

The strength of our nation is the strength of our Navy — a diverse population that emphasizes similarities while celebrating differences. New ideas and backgrounds drive innovation and ensure our Navy maintains its preeminence. No other nation in the world can boast such a lasting, remarkable legacy, an inheritance purchased with the sacrifice and zeal of those who went before us.

Let us also remember the loving and devoted families our sailors leave behind as they deploy to defend our nation and support our allies around the world.

Spouses and children, parents and siblings, all play a vital role in the success of every service member. The family is and will ever be the foundation of the warfighter. While the days, weeks and months spent apart can never be reclaimed, our Navy families take comfort in knowing that our nation is deeply thankful for the sacrifices they have made in the name of our country.

I remain extremely proud of our sailors, their families and all who serve our great nation. As we prepare to mark this Memorial Day and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we are also mindful of those who serve bravely in uniform today. The Navy’s legacy of excellence and distinction will forever inspire the courageous men and women who so valiantly offer themselves to a grateful nation.