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Trump honors fallen and families in Memorial Day address


SOURCE: ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday expressed the nation’s “boundless” gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

Participating in the somber, annual observance at Arlington National Cemetery, Trump recounted the stories of Green Beret Capt. Andrew D. Byers of Colorado Springs and Christopher D. Horton of the Oklahoma National Guard as Byers’ tearful parents and Horton’s emotional widow looked on.

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Trump also singled out for special mention Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine four-star general whose son, Marine 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed in November 2010 after he stepped on a land mine while on patrol in southern Afghanistan.

To all Gold Star families, Trump said of their lost service members: “They each had their own names, their own stories, their own beautiful dreams. But they were all angels sent to us by God and they all share one title in common and that is the title of hero, real heroes.”

“Though they were here only a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever,” Trump said.

Horton, a sniper sent to Afghanistan in 2011, died in a gun battle with the Taliban near the Pakistan border three months into his deployment. Byers was on his third combat tour and, Trump said, ran through smoke and a hail of bullets to rescue an Afghan soldier when he was killed last November.

Secretary Kelly’s other son, Johnny, is getting ready for his fifth military deployment. A son-in-law, Jake, is a wounded warrior.

Trump also recognized former U.S. senator and GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, 93, who suffered lifelong injuries during World War II. He attended the ceremony along with his wife, Elizabeth Dole, also a former U.S. senator.

“As we honor the brave warriors who gave their lives for ours, spending their last moments on this earth in defense of this country and of its people, words cannot measure the depth of their devotion, the purity of their love or the totality of their courage,” Trump said.

“We only hope that every day we can prove worthy not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones they left behind. Special, special people,” he said.