ARLINGTON, Va. President Donald Trump paid a Memorial Day tribute at Arlington National Cemetery to those who have fallen in the battle or while the protection of a people forever grateful for their selfless service. His solemnity contrasts with a self-promotional tweet earlier Monday, in which he said, fallen soldiers would be “very happy and proud of how well our country is doing today,” with an indication of the economy and low unemployment.
The commander in chief, speaking before an audience of Government, military leaders, veterans and families gathered in the marble amphitheater near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, said: “We mourn together with their families and we strive to be worthy of their sacrifice.”
Trump said that he came to the “holy land” of Arlington “to honor the life and deeds of America’s greatest heroes” — the men and women who laid down their lives so that others could be free.
Trump also laid a wreath at the tomb during his second Memorial Day trip to Arlington as the president.
Before you go to the holy ground on the other side of the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, Trump tweeted that “those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud of how well our country is doing today.”
But the president veered from the somber to the self-indulgent in the tweet, citing what he said was the “Best economy of the last few decades, the lowest unemployment rates for Blacks and latinos EVER (and the women in the 18 years), the renovation of the Military and much more. Nice!! The president also placed retweets in line with his criticism of the Ministry of Justice and the investigation of the links between a winning campaign and Russia.
He was criticized for his show by a number of people, including a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Obama administration, retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who wrote: “This day, all days of the year, should not be about each of us.”
Memorial Day messages from first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, the chairman, the daughter taken to a theme for the commemoration and thanks.
“If we think of our fallen servicemen and women, our hearts are filled with gratitude for their sacrifice, and the awe of their courage,” Ivanka Trump tweeted.
And Melania Trump thanked service members and their families for helping to protect the country. “We honor the many Americans who lost their lives for our great country. As one nation under God, we come together to remember that freedom is not free,” she tweeted.
At Arlington, Trump said the heroes who died for the America of ‘ rest in these sacred fields, in cemeteries, battlefields, and cemeteries in near and far, come from the full tapestry of American life.”
He said that they came from “every generation, of towering cities and the wind-swept prairies, of the privilege and of poverty. They were generals and soldiers, the captains and the corporals of every race, color and of every creed, but they were all brothers and sisters in arms. And they were all united then, if they are united now, forever, by their eternal love of our great country.”
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, honored the more than a million Americans, he said, “gave their last full measure so that we can live in freedom and raise our children in peace.”
He also honored the families “they left behind and for whom every day is Memorial Day.”
Those who fought and died for America, ” he said, “shared a commitment to something bigger than themselves and they were people who understand what we have in this country, it is worth to fight for.”
Those who participated in the Memorial Day tribute included Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, whose son, Marine 2nd Lt Robert M. Kelly, was killed in November 2010 after he stepped on a landmine while on patrol in southern Afghanistan. He is buried at Arlington.