Update: A statement issued after the ceremony by Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute has been added in paragraph four.
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael Leavitt participated in a Coast Guard Veterans Day ceremony at the Coast Guard Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery today. All three spoke about the importance of the day and thanked veterans for their service.
Lute, in a statement issued after the ceremony, recognized the service of Coast Guard men and women serving around the world to protect the American homeland:
“The Department of Homeland Security is fortunate to have the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard protecting our coastline and maritime interests around the world. They carry on the great tradition of those who have served in defense of our freedom. As a former member of the U.S. Army, it is an honor to remember the Coast Guardsmen who lost their lives in World War I, and to recognize the service and sacrifice of all of our veterans.”
In his remarks, Papp reflected on the essence of being a veteran:
“Our Nation has always had absolute confidence in that our citizens will step forward during our greatest hour of need, to selflessly defend our freedoms, and when necessary, to lay their lives on the altar of patriotism. This willingness embodies the essence of service…and what it truly means to be called a veteran.”
Papp also discussed the construction of the Coast Guard Memorial and his initiative to reverse the toll eight decades of weather have taken on the memorial:
“So, today, I am announcing the ‘Lest we forget’ campaign – it’s the same name as the original campaign launched in 1925. Further detail will follow – but it’s now our turn to respond to the call…to honor our profession.”
Separately, in a message sent to all Coast Guard men and women, Papp provided his thoughts on members of the public coming up and thanking members of the armed forces for their service:
“This simple statement is not merely a show of gratitude, but a strengthening of the bond between veterans and the American people whom we serve. When I hear someone thank me for serving, I respond that I’ll pass it on to the men and women of the Coast Guard, Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force—and their families.”