Good morning and thank you, Undersecretary Luna, and to our colleagues at the American Battle Monuments Commission for hosting our Memorial Day Ceremony this year. It is my great honor to be here with you all.
This is a day of remembrance for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. While we mourn their loss, we are also grateful to those who selflessly acted on our behalf. We are reminded that freedom comes at a great price, but that is a concept worth fighting and dying for.
The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial allows us to reflect on, and honor, those Americans and Filipinos who gave their lives in World War II. We are surrounded here by thousands of stories of bravery and sacrifice.
The 17,000 graves at the cemetery and the more than 36,000 names inscribed on the Walls of the Missing remind us of the considerable toll paid by both of our peoples to secure a world committed to freedom, peace, and economic progress for all. We must always remember their sacrifices.
That shared sacrifice has resulted in 75 years of strong relations between our two nations and an unbreakable alliance. Americans and Filipinos have fought side-by-side for over 100 years in defense of our common values and ideals. We have committed ourselves to mutual defense to ensure the Indo-Pacific remains free and open to the benefit of all nations.
Memorial Day should be about more than remembrance; it is also about dedication. We must rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work of the fallen men and women before us.
We are all beneficiaries of the sacred ideals and values that those who lie on these grounds fought to defend. To honor their sacrifice, let us redouble our efforts as members of the military, as diplomats, and most importantly of all, as fellow citizens of the world.
My hope is that we continue to reflect on these shared sacrifices beyond Memorial Day. While it is easy to get caught up in our daily routines, let us strive to live honorable lives in service to one another, our countries, and in pursuit of our shared values. In this, we truly pay tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our two nations.