San Diego, CA – The commanding general of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin officially kicked off the installations participation in Memorial Day ceremonies throughout Southern California by giving the keynote address at Miramar National Cemetery here.
Maj. General Joseph Martin addressed the crowd of about 600 people during the Sunday afternoon ceremony. Before giving his prepared remarks, Martin asked the crowd to raise their hands if they had never served in the military. Just over half the attendees raised their hands.
Martin then commented that the small percentage of the population that has served in uniform have no problem understanding the real reason behind Memorial Day, however some of those who haven’t spent time in uniform are not fully aware of the significance of the holiday. In thanking those who attended, he commented “you get it.”
He went on to talk about the significant role that family and hometown experiences play in forming the basic values that shape our Armed Forces. He explained that although the Army embraces the Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personnel Courage, the real lessons learned at home before enlistment are the roots of a Soldiers beliefs.
Martin told the story of the Gonzales-Duarte family of Southern California. The family lost two sons in combat, David in Normandy in the early days of World War II, Phillip, his half-brother, would fall near Taegu during the War in Korea.
“For those like David and Phillip, who never made it back home, we must continue to live our lives in their honor. We, who are the heirs of their legacy, must always be the guardians of their dreams.
This is our time…our country. We must keep the spirit with which the fallen fought so bravely. We must pledge to sustain their work, for our children, and for generations to come,” said Martin.