Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Memorial Day Ceremony
HUD Veterans Affinity Group
HUD HQ
Washington, DC
May 24, 2018


As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.

Welcome, everyone, to HUD’s Memorial Day Ceremony and thank you for joining us for this important moment of remembrance, reflection, and renewal for our country.

I’m delighted to have with us today Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Under her leadership, the Department of Education is doing everything to uphold our nation’s commitment to our military families and ensure service members, veterans, and their families have access to high-quality educational choices. Thank you, Secretary DeVos, for being here.

I want to thank the Jr. ROTC members of our Joint Force Color Guard from the John F. Kennedy Jr. High School and Franklin Military Academy for their outstanding work and dedication -- and for making this occasion extra special.

My thanks to Patrice, for leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance; Dr. Gori, for the excellent rendition of our National Anthem; and Chaplain Scott Jones and Rabbi Schnitzer for that wonderful invocation. Our heartfelt appreciation to each of you for sharing your beautiful talents with all of us as part of this tribute to our fallen service men and women.

I also want to extend a special thanks to our entire HUD Veterans Affinity Group, led by Walter Elmore, and all those involved with planning this event.

To our inter-agency, military, and community partners who are participating today—we are so very grateful for all you do for our nation.

And to our Gold Star Families, there are no words to express our indebtedness to you, or to convey our deepest appreciation for your sacrifices. We can only do our best today to provide a reminder of that gratitude. Thank you all for being here and for everything your lives and service means to our country.

Today, we pay tribute to the heroes of each generation whose patriotism was complete, whose devotion to duty absolute, and whose faith and allegiance unbreakable. They embody the timeless virtues of courage, loyalty, sacrifice, and love.

The lives of our fallen veterans give increased vitality to our national creed, to our founding documents, and to our Nation’s promise – that all men and women are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.

We honor and express our eternal gratitude to the Gold Star Mothers and Wives with us today and across our country, who alone know the true cost of war, and the true price of our hard-won freedom. This burden is borne by our military families – the wives, the children, the fathers, and the mothers who gave life to these intrepid souls.

On Memorial Day, we honor their remarkable legacy. It inspires us to imitate their heroism by serving others with the same humility and fortitude, come what may.

Today, I want to express my appreciation for the strength and sacrifice of our military families, but also – standing here in our nation’s Capital -- celebrate their lives as the greatest, lasting, most beautiful monument to our liberty. It is they who recognized the imperative of human freedom, the righteousness of justice, and peace of equality. We rejoice in the freedom they preserved and the noble purpose to which they dedicated each breath.

I’d now like to ask Secretary DeVos to share her thoughts. Secretary DeVos has spent a lifetime dedicated to helping families and children achieve equal access to quality education. As Secretary, she continues that fight, including and in particular serving as a stalwart advocate for educational opportunities for our veterans and military families. Please join me in giving our 11th U.S. Secretary of Education a warm HUD welcome. Thank you. Secretary DeVos…