President Donald Trump visited Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay respects to the fallen soldiers entombed there. Trump participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, gave a speech about national security, and listened to the playing of “Taps” as families and tourists watched silently. The president was joined at the ceremony by various members of his administration.
However, one moment truly hit close to home for the administration. Walking through the hallowed ground of the cemetery, the president and vice president made a detour to Section 60, an area known for being the final resting place for men and women recently killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They carried flowers and stopped at a specific grave marked 'Marine Corps Second Lt. Robert Kelly.'
The grave marks the resting place of Trump's Homeland Security Secretary's son John Kelly, who stood with Trump at the grave.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both laid flowers on Kelly's grave as DHS Secretary looked on.
Kelly, himself a veteran, gave a beautiful eulogy for his son after his death in Afghanistan.
As my colleague Virginia Kruta recently reported:
Retired General John Kelly put his life on the line for the American people for nearly four decades in the U.S. Marine Corps.
But Kelly, now serving in the Trump administration as Homeland Security Secretary, doesn't just know service — he also knows sacrifice of the greatest measure: in 2010, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, his 29-year-old son, was killed in Sangin, Afghanistan on a patrol.
Just four days later, Kelly gave a eulogy for two other Marines who were killed as they attempted to stop a suicide bomber from driving a truck into their compound.
"The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were- some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber ...
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.
Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty… into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight– for you.”
The president also met Gold Star families at Arlington.
A moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day: