Trump honours service members in Memorial Day speech

Making a special recognition to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired general, Trump offered his thoughts to the Kelly family for their son, who died in Afghanistan.

Christian, wearing a mini Marine uniform, traveled with his mother Brittany to Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day and got a high five from President Trump.

To all Gold Star families, Trump said of their lost service members: "They each had their own names, their own stories, their own lovely dreams". "But they were all angels sent to us by God, and they all share one title in common - and that is the title of hero".

Sticking closely to his prepared text, Trump offered no insight into his thinking about how to proceed in the various wars that the United States is now fighting, including the battle against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria or the war in Afghanistan.

Noting that "I always call him 'general, '" Mr. Trump said Mr. Kelly "understands more than most ever could, or ever will, the wounds and burdens of war ..." John Kelly's other son, Johnny, is preparing for his fifth military deployment. A son-in-law, Jake, is a wounded warrior.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis introduced Mr. Trump and recognized the "fighting spirit" of US military veterans. Bob Dole, who suffered permanently crippling injuries as a member of the 10th Mountain Division in a battle with the German army in Italy in World War II. "We only hope that every day we can prove worthy, not only of their sacrifice, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones they left behind. Special, special people", he said.

Earlier in the morning, the president visited the cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where he placed a wreath and reflected silently as a bugle player performed taps.

Stepping to the microphone to deliver the address, Trump seemed to relish the warm welcome from the audience gathered in the sun-splashed amphitheater.

The remarks of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman James Dunford, who stood with the president, were also appropriately distinguished and moving. Addressing Horton's weeping widow, Trump added, "Jane, America grieves with you".

In the applause from military families and dignitaries attending the memorial service was a heart-swelling enthusiasm not seen or heard in many years at this solemn annual event. Jacobs' father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, died during a training accident in California in 2011.

On Monday morning, President Trump honored fallen US service members at Arlington National Cemetery in commemoration of Memorial Day, marking his first public appearance since returning home from his first global trip.

  • Larry Hoffman