Trump Marks Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery, Fort McHenry

By Zachary Stieber

President Donald Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery and Fort McHenry during Memorial Day, giving a speech at the latter that compared fighting the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus with war.

“In recent months, our nation and the world have been engaged in a new form of battle against an invisible enemy,” Trump said at Fort McHenry national monument in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Once more, the men and women of the United States military have answered the call to duty and raced into danger. Tens of thousands of service members and National Guardsmen are on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus, caring for patients, delivering critical supplies and working night and day to safeguard our citizens as one nation.”

The fort was the site of a battle during the Revolutionary War that inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Attendees at the ceremony were seated about six feet from each other in an attempt to follow social distancing guidelines meant to guide actions to slow the spread of the CCP virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

About half of the attendees wore masks; Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and several top officials did not.

Trump told those assembled that he came “to pay tribute to the immortal souls who fought and died to keep us free.”

“Every time we sing our anthem—every time its rousing chorus swells our hearts with pride—we renew the eternal bonds of loyalty to our fallen heroes. We think of the soldiers who spent their final heroic moments on distant battlefields to keep us safe at home. We remember the young Americans who never got the chance to grow old but whose legacy will outlive us all,” he said.

Trump briefly stopped at the White House before attending the ceremony.

Earlier Monday, he, the first lady, and cabinet members went to a wreath laying event at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Trump and Pence at Wreath Laying Ceremony
President Donald Trump(R) and Vice President Mike Pence participate in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day in Arlington, Va., on May 25, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump salutes
President Donald Trump salutes as he participates in a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day in Arlington, Va., on May 25, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Esper, and a military official stood front and center saluting or holding a hand to their heart while the “Star Spangled Banner” played.

Trump then stepped forward and stood with his hands clasped in front of him in front of a large wreath before touching the wreath with a hand and saluting again. The wreath was located near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Officials didn’t speak during the ceremony.

Trump said in a statement: “We can never replace them. We can never repay them. But we can always remember.”

In a proclamation, the president said that “Americans have answered the call to duty and given their lives in service to our nation and its sacred founding ideals” since the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War.

“As we pay tribute to the lives and legacies of these patriots on Memorial Day, we also remember that they sacrificed to create a better, more peaceful future for our nation and the world. We recommit to realizing that vision, honoring the service of so many who have placed love of country above all else,” he said.

Trump speaks on Memorial Day
President Donald Trump speaks during ceremonies commemorating the Memorial Day holiday at Fort McHenry at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., on May 25, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk from Marine One at the White House, in Washington on May 25, 2020, after a visit to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

“As Americans, we will always defend our freedom and our liberty. When those principles are threatened, we will respond with uncompromising force and unparalleled vigor. Generation after generation, our country’s finest have defended our republic with honor and distinction. Memorials, monuments, and rows of white crosses and stars in places close to home like Arlington, Virginia and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as well as far-flung battlefields in places like Flanders Field in Belgium and Busan in Korea, will forever memorialize their heroic actions, standing as solemn testaments to the price of freedom,” he continued.

“We will never take for granted the blood shed by these gallant men and women, as we are forever indebted to them and their families.”

The Trumps went back to the White House after the Fort McHenry event.

Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday of May. The federal holiday commemorates men and women who died while in military service.

A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. The moment features many Americans pausing whatever they’re doing for a minute of silence.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established what was then known as Decoration Day as a time for decorating with flowers the graves of those who died in war.

The date of May 30 was chosen, likely because flowers would be in bloom all over the country, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Arlington National Cemetery was the site of the first large observance of the day, held that year.

From The Epoch Times