National News

On Memorial Day, Trump Honors ‘Our Heroes’ at Arlington

Posted May 28, 2018 5:21 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump paid tribute to and mourned the loss of fallen soldiers on Monday with a traditional Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, vowing that “we will never forget our heroes.”

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on a gray and unseasonably cool day, Trump addressed a cheering crowd that included Gold Star families, honoring “the men and women who laid down their lives for our freedom.”

Trump spoke of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors who came from “every generation, from towering cities and windswept prairies, from privilege and from poverty,” but were united in arms and in their sacrifice.

And he singled out several of them for praise. He recognized former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., a World War II veteran who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in January, and Ray Chavez, a Navy veteran and the oldest living survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Trump also eulogized Lt. Col. David Greene of the Marines and Capt. Mark Stubenhofer of the Army, who were killed in Iraq in 2004, and Sgt. Christopher Jacobs of the Marines, who died in a training exercise in 2011.

“As he covered his troops, he was shot by ground fire, giving up his life for his comrades and for his country,” Trump said of Greene, giving a thumbs-up and congratulations to the officer’s son for planning to join the military.

Stubenhofer was killed by sniper fire just months after his wife gave birth to a daughter they named Hope, Trump said.

The president said he had met Jacobs’ son, 7-year-old Christian, at last year’s wreath-laying ceremony: “Christian walked over to me, with great confidence, shook my hand, looked me straight in the eye and asked if I would like to meet his dad. He loved his dad.”

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke before Trump. Other members of Trump’s Cabinet and White House aides — including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary; Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel; and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser — were also in attendance.

Trump’s prepared speech stood in sharp contrast to his Twitter posts earlier Monday morning, in which he continued to criticize the Russia investigation — again referring to his unsubstantiated claim that the FBI spied on his campaign.

In another post, he celebrated the economy, boasting about low unemployment rates for African-Americans, Latinos and women.

He wished Americans a happy Memorial Day in the same tweet.